A CHANGE IN PLANS

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” … Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. [Genesis 12:1, Romans 4:20-21 (NLT)]

laughing gull - VB780webThis morning’ s news reported a federal grand jury’s indictment of a Utah man for making a bomb threat against a hospital last September. The false threat led to the hospital being evacuated and locked down for several hours. The man had nothing to do with ISIS or any terrorist group; he just made the threat to disrupt the hospital’s operations enough to cause the postponement of his wife’s scheduled C-section that day. He was in Idaho at the time and wanted the procedure delayed so that he could be present for the baby’s birth. Now, facing up to ten years in prison, it may be quite a while before he gets to enjoy that child.

While life rarely goes according to our plans, most of us don’t resort to bomb threats. Consider Mary—she was a carefree young girl busy with wedding plans when an angel interrupted her life with the message that, in spite of her virginity, she would have a baby. That certainly put a damper on the wedding plans and her relationship with Joseph. What about Noah—the farmer turned shipbuilder? Constructing an arc on the back forty and gathering a boatload of animals certainly interrupted his family’s comfortable life. Things were going well in Ur when Abraham and Sarah were told by God to pull up stakes and move miles away to an unknown place. Certainly Hosea wouldn’t have deliberately chosen a wife knowing she would be unfaithful to him, but that’s what God told him to do. Elizabeth and Zechariah had resigned themselves to being childless when she became pregnant. While a blessing, it had to be a challenge for the elderly couple—diapers and midnight feedings instead of quiet afternoons in the sun. Elisha was a farmer with a team of oxen, Isaiah a scribe, and Amos a shepherd; they hadn’t attended prophet school, but that’s what God called them to be. Andrew, Peter, James and John were fisherman and Matthew collected taxes; they all had careers when Jesus interrupted their lives and turned them into disciples. Paul, the Pharisee tent-maker, was on a mission when blinded on the road to Damascus and the persecutor of Christians became a preacher for Christ. None of these people asked God for a life change; it was God who called to them and God never asked any of them if it was a convenient time.

The Utah man who made the bomb threat apparently missed the important life lesson that the world does not revolve around us. But then again, while our behavior isn’t as extreme as his, we all have difficulty accepting that fact at times. God, however, has an uncanny way of reminding us who’s really in charge. One look at the lives of family and friends tells me that God continues his holy interruptions. Blessings, difficulties, challenges and assignments do not arrive according to our time schedules. God’s plan is not written for our convenience and we can’t call in a bomb threat whenever we don’t like His timing. Instead of God accommodating us, we are to accommodate Him and follow His plan, not ours. It may not be convenient or even what we wanted and we may feel ill-prepared or overwhelmed but, like those faithful people before us, we have to trust God and say, “Here I am, Lord!”

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” [Isaiah 6:8 (NLT)]

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Luke 1:38 (NLT)]

So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him. [Genesis 6:22 (NLT)]