Benjamin Franklin had something to say about the unexpected. “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
As filing day for taxes quickly approaches, we all know how true that is. But what Old Ben was really saying was that the unexpected is to be expected. And just because you are a Christian does not mean you are exempt from the surprises of life, or from taxes for that matter. (I wish!)
It always seems like we’re doing fine, just gliding along on the surface of life, when, wooosh! a huge wave breaks through and sends us reeling. Sickness strikes at the worst times, like for me, the night before a big speaking engagement. Jobs change. Family structure shifts (a little oops can happen!). We think we have life figured out and then God sends us something new to deal with.
Scripture is pretty clear, actually, that we are not to get too comfortable in our lives. First of all, the earth is not our final stop; we are destined for somewhere better. Hebrews 13:14 says, “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (NLT).
Because we are eternal beings, with a soul that will live forever, no one should live on earth like this is all there is. We should “store up treasures in heaven” where they will actually last (Matt. 6:20). Anything we strive for on earth will eventually pass away unless we invest in the eternal souls of people.
Second, we are not guaranteed a tomorrow. James, the brother of Jesus, explained it like this. “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14, NLT). We are so temporary in the grand scheme of eternity. Our lives will eventually be just a little dot on the timeline of history in it’s entirety. That sounds so fatalistic, sorry! But my message is simple: make today count because we are only guaranteed today. You can make plans but don’t be surprised if they fall through!
That’s more than a little frustrating to me, a Type A planning, first-born. I love to have a schedule and a plan for the day. When I became the wife of a farmer, wow, did I have some trouble! A farmer’s life is so not scheduled! They are controlled by the weather quite a bit, and sometimes their day changes if equipment or tools fail. I really did a lot of changing when we moved to the farm. It was either become flexible or live unhappily ever after. I chose to get over it, to some degree anyway.
But Proverbs 19:21 echoes this same “be flexible” idea. “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” There it is. Clear as day. God’s will always wins out over our plans. We should expect the unexpected with God!
Our plans are nothing like God’s. Sometimes, we plan and are guided by His will. That is when pure magic happens as we work together in partnership with Jesus. I love when God gives me a vision, and I’m able to execute it smoothly, all for His glory! Those moments make me so grateful and full of praise!
But much of life is not scripted. God has a plan for all of humanity, and we only see a small part of that. We are not wise enough to even hold the same thoughts as God.
Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? (Isaiah 40:13-14)
Shocking, I know, but God does not need our advice to carry out His plans. Even though we may try to help, His ways and plans are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).
When life does shake us up, we are not without hope. We can always trust God’s plans because we can always trust God’s character.
Even though circumstances in life are shifty and unstable, our God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Anything we’ve learned about God remains true, even if we don’t understand His ways. If it’s true in the joyful times, it’s true in the stressful times.
God is always the same. He always loves us perfectly. He always has a plan for our good. He always has a calling and plan for our lives. He is always with us. He is always good.
I could go on and on about God’s characteristics, but it’s better if you list some for yourself. What characteristic of God are you clinging to right now?
Remember, even in the unexpected, God is our solid Rock.