I wake up in the mornings, with highly ambitious thoughts and plans for my day. Our world buzzes with expertly pitched noise about successful planning, accomplishing goals, being intentional, and failing to plan being a recipe for failure. So I plan. And I write lists. And occasionally, when I feel as if I am falling behind and need to be a little more on the dominating end of my goals I set my alarm a little earlier. But guess what happens? The earlier I set my alarm, the earlier my children wake up. And the hungrier they are. And the needier they are. And the plans that I so carefully crafted before I left the asylum of my bed sheets have been masterfully destroyed like a preschooler with scissors and a piece of paper. So I grapple with re-planning and detours, and I become the master of new, creative routes that wind me through each day. I remind myself that God is not derailed from the plans He has crafted for our lives.
My daughter had her first ballet lesson this past week. She was excited when she tried on her ballet outfit. She talked about it before bed the night before. But when the morning came and it was time to walk out the door, she suddenly decided that she no longer wanted to go to her first lesson. Thankfully, (because I am the same way) I knew she was just having a last minute panic attack and I managed to drag her away from the known comfort of the PBS screen and onto the unknown dance floor.
We make plans for our children. I am not talking about Tiger Mother- school- them -at -the -gates of Harvard kind of plans. I mean things like swimming lessons, music lessons, ballet lessons, soccer practice, story hours, and various outings. We plan for their education and their nutrition and other details that give them a satisfactory existence. We make good plans. We do not pencil in struggles. We do not schedule pain (aside from shots at the pediatrician, of course). We sometimes insist on discomfort by default when we encourage something we know to be good for them. We are wise enough to make beneficial and loving plans for the ultimate good of our children’s lives and quality of said lives.
We may have an idea of how our plans should unroll, but there is a tension between heavily obsessive planning and loosely held desires that may disintegrate before our eyes. I assure my daughter that I will never make a plan that would bring her harm. I will never force her to do something that would knowingly cause her injury or distress. When I think about the plans God holds for our lives, it is comforting to know that He controls good and evil, whereas I cannot. I cannot prevent bad from happening to her, but I would never offer her on the altar of harm. A loving God will never sacrifice His own children to the evil one. He always has a wise plan, a larger plan in which we can trust.
God ordains our day to days, with our good in mind. But beyond the everyday, is the plan established before time and no chaos from His creation can derail it. His plan is to rescue us through the cross, to give us the sight of His glory one day, to lavish us with everlasting life. A plan that can never be derailed, re-routed, or demolished. Included is the plan that the news of His good care will spread through the world without being silenced. His truth and His word remain. Good will prevail. Evil will perish. This is the plan that the cross delivers to us. This is plan He has for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future. In the every day routines, on the good days and hard days, on the smooth days and bumpy days, God’s plan for us is fixed. And in this we can take joy, even when our plans do not go as smoothly as we hope.