My closet looks like a “train wreck” when I am packing. You could say an organized train wreck. There are piles everywhere! From experience I have learned not to put everything in my suitcase until I have checked it off my list…every pile. You see, if I start putting things in the suitcase as I go, I invariably forget something.
I have learned to make small piles and then check off the piles before I start putting them in my suitcase…piles like….pj’s…tops…bottoms…underwear…socks…shoes…jewelry….belts…umbrella…vitamins…makeup…itinerary…books….extra readers…etc. I can remember taking a trip and getting to the destination only to find I didn’t have any shoes other than the ones on my feet!
Not a big problem for most people but I wear a size 5…and it is hard as heck finding shoes my size. Even better? I was at a destination where there weren’t any shoe stores. It was summer and I usually travel in flip flops while driving and well, yes, I had to wear flip flops to my speaking engagement. Embarrassing! I plan, or fail to, and God laughs! LOL…… Needless to say…I have revamped how I plan and pack!
“When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” I certainly agree with this quote. Bad experience is a great teacher. Without disciplined thought, thinking ahead and making a plan I can end up with terrible outcomes or no outcome at all. Living life haphazardly is not God’s design. He is a God of order and created us to be people of order. But He does expect us to defer to Him as the ultimate guide…even daily. Sometimes, if you become an expert planner, you have to be willing to have Him give “redirection,” “an interruption” or a “total schedule change.”
God used becoming a mother to teach me that you can have the best plan in your head and even on paper, but when you are responsible for little ones…then Wow…can your plans suddenly change in a “skinny minute”–from projectile vomiting to a broken femur and tibia of a 5 year old daughter… the day before you leave for family vacation to Disney World.
But planning without including God or seeking His guidance and direction can lead your best plans to a “dead end” or an unintended destination. How about when your plans get disrupted? I think of Paul’s shipwreck! Of course I am sure Paul wasn’t too happy about being a prisoner on ship and being transported to Rome to go on trial before Caesar. And then he experienced a shipwreck and instead of drowning, he made it to shore to find himself on the island of Malta. “The people on the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us and warm us. As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit Paul on the hand. The people on the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, ‘A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live,'” (Acts 28:2-4).
Paul was not only having a very bad day of “disrupted plans,” but his life was threatened more than once and the observers thought he must deserve it! If you read the story, you find Paul flung the snake off his hand and into the fire. The people waited for Paul to get sick and die but neither happened so they assumed he was a god.
This admiration got Paul some attention from the Chief Official of the Island, Publius, who invited Paul to his house. Publius’ father was ill. Paul took the opportunity to pray for him and he was healed. No surprise…word traveled and many came from all over the island to be prayed over and were healed. Thus when it came time for them to set sail, the islanders provided them with everything they needed!
What do we learn here? We learn that our unexpected “shipwrecks” can be God’s “Pit Stops” for His will to be accomplished, even if you feel as if you are a prisoner. Think about it. Paul was a prisoner with no say about the stops. Even when the unforeseen happened, he was greatly used by God. He certainly could not have requested to meet with the Chief Official of the island under normal circumstances.
I see God’s sovereign will and His good purposes in the imprisonment and the shipwreck…but I also see Paul’s faithfulness. He helped to gather wood to stay warm. He prayed for the sick people. He had human fleshly reason to be self-absorbed, to take pride when he didn’t die after the snake bite….to use it to his human advantage…but he humbled himself and prayed for others!
I am encouraged and I desire for you to be encouraged by God’s divine detours in your life. :o) Sometimes a closed door, even if it is a “slammed door,” is God’s divine plan for His perfect plan for your life. He can see the future. We cannot. Take comfort in Psalm 34:10, “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Learn from Paul. When you entrust yourself to a Holy God, You can trust Him when your plans get changed, halted or redirected. Learn to Flow with God. You will benefit and others may as well! Divine Detours are God’s Divine Destinations.
I Chronicles 16:11, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~Allen Saunders