“This is not how I planned it”

Have you ever said that about your life?

Have you ever said that when the direction you are going changes?

You had a different idea in mind.

Life played out differently than you had dreamed.

Life played out differently than you had hoped.

That situation played out differently than you prayed for.

I was talking with someone this week who sheepishly admitted that this wasn’t the place she wanted to be in, this wasn’t what she envisioned. She hesitated to allow it to escape her mouth as she said the words and I could tell it wasn’t what she wanted to admit. It wasn’t because she didn’t want to be honest, she didn’t want to seem ungrateful to God.

I think she was tired of being optimistic and hopeful.

I think she was tired of guessing when things would change.

I think her heart felt like her time was running out for her good desires to be fulfilled.

She was tired of trying to figure God out.

We try this – we try to understand His plan. We try to fit in our tiny minds the whys, the possibilities, the expectations, the disappointments, the misunderstanding.

We try to explain away our pain. We try to explain away our dreams. We try to explain what we cannot understand.

Maybe it’s this. Maybe it’s that. Maybe this will happen. Maybe if I prayed more. Maybe if I learned another lesson. Maybe…maybe…

When we have run out of maybe’s is when our faith intersects with our unknowns, our unexplained and our misunderstanding. Our faith dives into that place of ‘what is going on’ and says, 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s adequate. Its more than enough. It will carry you through today.

I thought about the verse that says.

“The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7

I’ve always read this verse starting at the “Be anxious for nothing” part but look right before it – it says “The Lord is near.”

Followed by “Be anxious for nothing”

I mean that is a tall order for someone who is facing a lot of unknowns isn’t it?

Nothing?

Be anxious for NOTHING.

The verse doesn’t say be anxious about a few things or be anxious when you can’t see ahead, be anxious when you are tired, be anxious when you don’t understand, be anxious when things are out of your control, be anxious when your prayer hasn’t been answered yet, be anxious when you are confused, be anxious when you’re still waiting for ‘someday’…no it says be anxious for NOTHING.

Holy Cow. NOTHING?

How is this possible?  I’m asking you but I’m really asking me too because if you’ve read my blog long enough you know that anxiety is something that I’ve struggled with. I have no problem being honest about it because I know I’m not alone.

I know that I’m not the only one on the planet that wrestles with fear. I know I’m not the only one who wrestles with trying to ‘figure God out.’ I know that I’m not the only one who struggles with racing thoughts. I know that I’m not the only one who wants to rest. I know that my friend who shared that she felt fearful that tomorrow wouldn’t be different or better isn’t the only one.

But more than that I know that I’m not the only one who needs to be reminded of Gods promises, God’s commands and His truths over and over and over and over again. Who needs to be reminded to rest in Him because His grace is sufficient. His grace is enough. Why, is it enough…because go back to the first part:

 The Lord is near

And where He is near – there is His grace.

I’m reminded of how His grace was enough for Abraham as he walked up to the altar and began to lay down that which was precious to Him.

He was willing to lay down his dreams of having, holding and keeping his son to himself as he lay him on the altar.

He was willing to hold loosely the things he had envisioned for himself and offer them back to the giver of all and every good and perfect gift.

He did this.

He was willing to lay down what was precious, hoped for, his expectations, his dreams, his plans –  because He knew in his heart that God’s grace would sufficiently hold him and that God’s grace would be enough – because the Lord was near.

I mean…wow….that’s faith. That is trust. That is love.

I think that is us perhaps. Maybe we aren’t laying our son upon an altar waiting for heaven to break open and spare his life, but maybe there are other things we are laying down for the sake of our faith, for the sake of trust and for the sake of love.

Whether it’s waiting for a spouse, waiting for a child, waiting for healing, waiting for a breakthrough or waiting for our doubt to turn into faith – His grace is sufficient and sufficiently holds us amidst unknowns.

His grace sufficiently holds us in between.

His grace sufficiently holds us underneath.

His grace sufficiently holds us above water when we feel like we are drowning.

His grace is sufficient. His grace is enough.

Not once in awhile but in every moment we are held by that grace for each moment carrying us to the next.

His grace is sufficient. Through your weakness His grace is sufficient. Through your unknowns.

Through you wanderings. Through your uncertainty. Through your everything – He is sufficient. But it’s a daily thing just like the manna offered to the Israelites in the desert His grace is offered to us to daily for today’s worries, today’s wonderings, today’s what if’s, to today’s everything.

His grace is sufficient- because He is near.

Be anxious for nothing –  for the Lord is near.

 

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