A Change of Plans

It was Christmas Eve morning and the children were sound asleep as their grandfather stepped out of the house, walked across the path to the gate of the yard and headed to work. He looked forward to the evening that would bring all his grandchildren to him to celebrate the birth of the Savior and to see the excitement on their faces as presents were handed out. 

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No one could have prepared this family for how this day would end. No one ever knew quite what happened, except that only minutes later, the grandfather rushed back through the gate, his body bleeding from two gunshot wounds. He collapsed on the pathway to the house, which is where his wife and children found him. Not dead, but dying. 

It's so easy to say, "I trust God." But do we really mean it? When our plans are interrupted, do we truly trust He is still in control?

Mary was engaged to be married to Joseph, a man of honor. I can well imagine she had dreams for her future that looked quite different from how things turned out. It was the greatest honor imaginable to have the God of the universe entrust to her His only son, but what would it cost her personally? Would Joseph understand? Would her parents believe her or throw her out of their house? Certainly, her friends and community would doubt her. But Luke 1:38 NLT shows us Mary's answer to the angel's message:

Mary responded, "I am the Lord's servant. May everything you have said about me come true." And then the angel left her.

How many of us, in the excitement of the moment, have said "yes" to the Lord and then later complained about how difficult things had become. Mary didn't know all that lay ahead of her when the angel approached her. She didn't know her Son would be rejected, lied about, beaten in the most gruesome way, and finally suffer excruciatingly in a crucifixion. But she was certain about her commitment to Him. Come what may, she continued to love Him. But loving someone also means being willing to suffer the loss of that person. Mary didn't hide in her room the day Jesus was crucified. We read in John 19:25 NIV: 

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Mary didn't leave. Nor did she stop believing. Although her heart was breaking, she continued trusting God's plan even if it turned out quite different from her expectations. 

My grandfather died the same night he was shot. I was only seven years old, but my heart broke that Christmas Eve.

I remember being handed a small, wrapped package the next day. It was a Christmas gift from my parents. Yet I felt perplexed at the lack of anticipation, curiosity, and joy.  I felt empty. The gift could not sooth away the pain of loss. I think we only gave out gifts because it was Christmas and they had already been purchased and wrapped. It felt like everyone moved around in a fog.

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This isn't how Christmas should feel! I feel desolate and forsaken because what I really want has been taken away from me. 

Forcing myself to open the package, I lifted the lid. My eyes beheld a delicate gold necklace with the words imprinted, May God guide you. 

When that gift was purchased, my parents had no idea what that Christmas would hold in store for our family. But God did. He sent a message to me.

Those words gained greater significance as I grew older. Yes, may God guide me, and may I be willing to walk that path of obedience even when it becomes difficult. May I not complain when my plans are interrupted, but may I walk in complete faith, fully trusting the One Who remains in control. 

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5&6 BSB 


January 19, 2022