When God interrupts our plans

June 23, 2011 at 6:37 am (My ramblings)

Have you ever made plans when all of sudden your plans get interrupted? It doesn’t matter that you’ve spent an enormous amount of time or money planning this activity. It doesn’t matter that you had your heart set on doing whatever it was you planned. All you know is everything has changed. It doesn’t seem fair! At the time, it seemed like this was what God wanted you to do. It doesn’t make sense. When God changes everything on me, I know I can sometimes get frustrated or wonder why He is changing it. I don’t instantly think, “wow, God must really have something good for me to change things around like this. I can’t wait to see what He’s got up His sleeves. He is going to use me to change someone’s life or encourage them.” No, I think wahhhhhhh! What a spiritual baby I can be at times like these! Why do we (ok, me) have a hard time being open when God changes things?

Of course you can’t think about circumstances changing without thinking about the apostle Paul. Poor guy, all he wanted to do was preach the Gospel in Asia but was “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching there” (Acts 16:6) and as he tried to enter Bithynia, “the Spirit wouldn’t allow them to enter there either” (vs 7). He was probably  thinking, hmmm, I’m trying to fulfill the great commission here, what’s going on?! So they ended up in Philippi, where Paul and his buddy Silas were promptly stripped, severely flogged and thrown into prison (Acts 16:22-23).  I think if it was me, I may have actually threw a tantrum; a full blown, throw myself on the floor, kicking my feet, hissy fit. I may have wondered what God was doing and asked Him why He thought being in jail was better than preaching the Gospel to the masses. Maybe Paul did have some of these feelings, I’ll never know. What I do know is that about midnight, Paul was singing hymns with Silas and the other prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16:25). Singing hymns! I’m pretty sure that I would not be singing Amazing Grace but something more along the lines of “nobody loves me, everyone hates me, I’ll just go eat worms”.

On a serious note, Paul could have felt frustration, disappointment or even anger but he took advantage of his circumstances to do what he was called to do, preach the Gospel. He thought it would be to the masses, God had better plans. He caused an earthquake and all the doors of the prison flew open. How cool is that?! The jailer woke up and was freaking out worried that everyone was going to get away so he was going to kill himself. Paul shouts to him, “don’t harm yourself, we are all here” (Acts 16:27-28). Next thing you know, the jailer is asking Paul, “what must I do to be saved?” (v 30). Can you imagine the scene? How many times has someone asked you that question? Me? Never! So Paul shares the Gospel with him and he and his entire household was saved. Incredible. Moments earlier, this guard was ready to kill himself. Now, he is a child of God and a brother in Christ.

God changed Paul’s plan and I’ll say that plan was way better. This portion of Scripture is such a good reminder that we need to be open to where God may be leading us and not so caught up with our own agenda. My prayer today is to be open to God’s leading and not be so consumed by what I want to do but be focused on what He wants me to do.

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1 Comment

  1. D Moore said,

    Thank you for a funny yet hopeful message about God’s interruptions in life. I neded that.

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