Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Plans, Agendas, Schedules

We've all been there. Life coasting along, going about our business, keeping up with all our plans, creating our agendas, checking off our schedules.

Then suddenly ...

Life happens.

One twist and turn after another, right in the middle of all our plans.

This week, one life happening event was named Hurricane Harvey. Houston and surrounding areas along the Gulf Coast are still dealing with its aftermath. Reading news reports and my Facebook feed of dear friends who are living right in the midst of all the devastation - it just makes my heart hurt.

This week, a cherished family member received a diagnosis none of us were expecting.

This week, a loved one's relationship ended.

This week, a friend died.

We want to take time to just absorb all that's happening - we need just a moment or two so we can process the emotions that flood our souls.

Sometimes, the images from these disasters are too much. Sometimes, the pain our loved ones are suffering is too much. Sometimes, the loss is too much.

Yet ... life ... goes ... on.

Sometimes, I just feel like screaming to life, "STOP! SLOW DOWN! LET ME CATCH UP!"

Instead, I take a few moments when I need it. I crawl into bed with my Bible, and I pray. And cry. And pray.

God's got all of this. None of these disasters, diagnoses, losses are a surprise to Him. Not a single moment.

He has a purpose for all of this. For every bit of it. For every tear shed. He has a purpose. And His purpose is good, regardless of how bad and how dark things might seem at the moment.

So how do we reconcile all of this? How do we cope?

We take that moment to absorb the devastation, the changes, the losses. We take that moment to breathe.

We take that moment to allow God to breathe life back into us.

We trust. Not in the world, but in Him. We trust that He remains in control. That He has our best interests in mind. That He has a glorious, eternal purpose for all this suffering.

And we praise Him in the midst of it all.

For the past few weeks, the Lord keeps pointing me to Isaiah 43. That chapter is speaking life to me in so many ways. I encourage to read it for yourself.

And more of God's Word to comfort and strengthen you during these turbulent times:

The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding. ~ Proverbs 3:5

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you." ~ Isaiah 43:2

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1:2-5

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. ~ James 5:13

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