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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

COVID-19: Finding Peace in Cancelled Plans

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV)

I moved during my state’s mandated season of quarantine for COVID-19, and let me just say, it was intense, stressful, and not without challenges. One morning, after getting settled in, I stepped onto my new tile kitchen floor and went crashing to the ground. I was in a puddle of water. The washer (improperly installed) flooded a significant portion of two rooms in my new abode, leaving destruction in its path.

I felt anger, shock, and pain. My crushed knee and throbbing chin were telling me that I needed to attend to my physical injuries, but the puddle drenching my clothes reminded me that my house was flooded. For a few moments, all I could do was sit and cry.

Nothing was going as planned in this weird season of life and I was far from happy. You ever “been there, done that?”

Perhaps you know what I am talking about. COVID-19 radically changed all our plans. From canceled weddings and graduations to forced unemployment and serious illness, many of us have stood before our God, families, and mirrors asking, “What is going on? This isn’t what I planned.” And as Proverbs reminds us, we can make lots of plans, only to have God deliver a radically different pathway.

When our plans get tossed aside for seasons of greater hardship or difficulty, the immediate human response is often one of anger, frustration, and avoidance. We see that with Job. When his impressive life of wealth, health, and achievement came crashing down in destruction. Job cried out:

"I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes." (Job 3:26 NKJV).

As I sat in my flooded house feeling pain and seeing dollar signs, I felt like Job. Nothing in my head or heart was at rest, but before long, I had to pick myself up and return to the promises of the Word. If we identify as children of the King and are people who know the Scriptures intimately, then we are called to embrace, with joy, destroyed personal plans for God’s higher purposes.

From Genesis to Revelation, God has repeatedly done some of his best work in messed up plans. Mary and Joseph did not plan to give birth to the Savior in a barn; Sarah and Abraham did not plan to have a child at 90, and Paul didn’t plan to spend his retirement years facing torture in a Roman jail. But look at what God did through the lives of these people, and how he blessed through hardship.

The richness of the Bible is that we can sit down and literally go chapter by chapter, book by book, highlighting repeated examples of people who found themselves facing frustrated plans. Some of the stories are brutal, harsh, and painful, but oh, how God did some amazing things from lives that were literally ripped apart and pieced back together with a new plan.

If you’re weary and heartbroken today over the manner in which your life plans blew up before you could even formulate action steps, then know this: You’re not alone, and messed up plans are often a sign that God is preparing to do something you’ve never imagined. So, be patient and trust God’s timing in your strange new plans, as he has a purpose for pain, procrastination, and pitfalls. Trust Him and let Him work. He has this!

Copyright © 2020 Dr. Lori Brown, used with permission.

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