When Life Doesn’t Go to Plan: How to Trust in the Maker
We all have those days, or months, or maybe years when life just doesn’t seem to be falling into place the way we dreamed and it’s hard to trust in God and His plan.
Sometimes, it is a petty change of plans, like running late because little shoes were missing yet again or Starbucks being out of the soy milk you need (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything). Sometimes, the change of unexpected illness or an uninvited career twist stops and shakes you to your core, making you wonder if God sees the path you’re seeing and how the end could possibly be made better by this delay.
Martha and Mary, when they grieved the loss of their beloved brother? What did they think? They knew that Jesus could have intervened and could have prevented the heartache, but He delayed His coming to them. Lazarus was raised, things were made right but still, do you think the ache remained within them?Does knowing the end of the story exclude us from heartache? Click To Tweet
I wonder what the first Man and Woman thought when things didn’t go to plan. When they stood at the base of that tree, fruit in hand, realizing the nakedness and knowing that things would never be the same again. Did they wonder how such brokenness could possibly be made right? But more than that, I wonder what God’s reaction was when His perfect Creation was tarnished by our sinful actions. Does knowing the end of the story exclude us from heartache?
The more I ponder the world, the more I familiarize myself with God’s response, I think not.
Christ knew what God could do for Lazarus, but that didn’t stop Him from weeping when news of His friend’s death reached His ears.Christ knew what God could do for Lazarus. His knowledge didn’t stop Him from weeping when news of His friend’s death reached His ears. Click To Tweet
God knew when He created Eve that she would taste the forbidden fruit and step into a brokenness she was not prepared to know. He knew when she handed the gnawed piece of fruit to Adam of the future Adam who would right the wrongs and remake all of this busted, tarnished world into something beautiful.
I cried out a few months ago, feeling that God had let me down by not coming through when I knew He could. Someone responded anonymously (yay internet!) that God would never let me down. While I do believe, firmly, that God will always use every moment of pain and suffering for His glory and my sanctification, He did let down the expectations I had by not doing what I hope He would.
I’m not saying God did the wrong thing, I’m just saying it did not meet the expectation I had.
There are times when God is completely in control, when the world is still moving in His sovereign plan and toward His sovereign purposes, but we still feel let down. We sense in our bones the ache of that things are not right.
And God senses it too.
Jesus cried when his friend died. Because knowing the end, knowing the power of God and the certainty of what He can do, does not diminish the pain of the day. But it makes it bearable.
When God met Job, while he was in despair, He reminded Him of all that He knew.
I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, “Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?”
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know. – Job 42:2-3, ESV
There is comfort in knowing that God meets us in our grief over the state of the world, but there is a great comfort in knowing that we do not need to understand, because we are not able to understand.
Life doesn’t always go to plan. And when we read through the Bible, we realize that God is there, with us, weeping over the busted remnants of the world He created. But He doesn’t stop there. He has also crafted a perfect plan of restoration to make all things right. His wisdom is greatly above ours. And He has the benefit of seeing an entire picture that we are missing.
We have hope because we can trust in God and His goodness when our plans fail.
When our day goes wrong and we wonder why our plans are frustrated, when we hold our crushed dreams in the palm of our hands, when life is confusing and the days are long, we can trust that each moment of our time is being redeemed.
All day long they injure my cause;
all their thoughts are against me for evil.
They stir up strife, they lurk;
they watch my steps,
as they have waited for my life.
For their crime will they escape?
In wrath cast down the peoples, O God!
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
-Psalm 56:5-11, ESV
I don’t know where you are today. You might be waiting through delays or wondering where to even begin or bending under the weight of grief. Although the pain or joy of the day does matter, to your story and to God, don’t let that blind you. Because He is orchestrating the entire plan, weaving together each moment of confusion and each change of plan, to tell a beautiful tale of His glory, we can trust in God.It is in these thin places where we are left to cling deeply to God, to rely on His presence, in a way we do not when we operate under the delusion that we have perfect control. Click To Tweet
In these thin places, life forces us to cling deeply to God, to rely on His presence. When we operate under the delusion that we have perfect control, we do not rely, day by day, on manna from our heavenly Father. But in each of these challenging, aching moments in the in-between, God is cradling you in His arms. He is counting your tears, cradling your heart, and will sustain you as you praise Him through the storm.