I love making plans. Knowing the schedule beforehand, with every facet planned to coalesce into a cohesive whole, sets my order-loving heart at ease and allows me to enjoy whatever activity it may be. I do this with everything – my morning schedule, my plan for nap time, my chores, our children’s futures, our retirement years, everything! Logical, orderly planning is a thing of beauty to me. And when those plans are thrown off, I tend to react poorly.
I have been learning that our best laid plans are often changed, rearranged, or discarded altogether. Perhaps nothing has helped me learn this more than our NICU stay. We just passed what would’ve been my official due date yesterday, and that was the tentative goal date for bringing William home. He most likely has at least a couple more weeks, if not longer, to be in hospitals before he can come home with us. When he received his g-button surgery, my plan was to have him home within a week after the procedure. Then he started becoming dependent on his oxygen supply, and delayed our progress. Most recently, we received news that a world class surgeon was going to work with William on a surgery that should help him learn to breathe and eat without medical assistance. Then, in the same day, we found out that our insurance was pushing back on the idea of sending him out of state for the surgery, essentially halting all progress until we can come to an agreement.
What am I to do with these delays? No one seems to be following my plans!
It’s times like these that remind me how not in control I am. I am not the one who rules my life or the lives of those around me. I am not Sovereign. I am not Omnipotent. If I am not the one in control, then no amount of stress or fretting on my part will change the outcome of these circumstances.
So when life is out of my control (which it always is, though I may think otherwise at times), how must I behave?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;” (Philippians 4:6)
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)
Okay, I get the idea of stopping my fretting and resting in God’s peace…but be thankful? What in the world am I supposed to be thankful for here? Nothing is going according to plan, and all these delays are going to give me wrinkles or grey hair or an ulcer. I know it. Why should I be thankful?
Because gratitude is one of the most powerful displays of faith.
I can be grateful, not because I am glad all of this is taking place, but because my life is in the hands of an All Powerful, All Knowing, All Gracious God, who is moving events and planning circumstances to bring about a beautiful end.
If I believe that, then before I know the outcome, I can be overwhelmed with gratitude for every delay, every setback, every frustration, knowing that each one is evidence that God is working.
“It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:26)