Getting ahead of God only makes more trouble in the end

Last Friday didn’t go the way I expected. And I mean, in a major way. I’d spent all day Wednesday and all day Thursday helping a friend get ready for a Seder Meal, and it was so much fun! But it was time consuming. But I knew I’d have all of Friday to catch up on work stuff.

I got home from the Seder Meal around 11pm, and I’d just gotten into bed and was almost asleep when a gust of wind hit the house so hard that I thought my bedroom windows would shatter.

I laid still for a moment, because usually with wind gusts, they die down a second after they hit. But this one didn’t. It kept blowing–and blowing–and blowing, and the windows were in danger of shaking apart in their sills. That’s when I realized it wasn’t going to stop.

So I jumped out of bed and scrambled down to the main floor of the house where my parents were also up, and that’s when we heard this massive crash outside. And then the power went out.

No big deal. Power outages are fairly common in the country, but it wasn’t how I’d planned to spend my sleeping hours on Thursday/Friday. When it became clear that the power wasn’t going to come back on, we settled back in to sleep. We got a few hours in, and when we climbed out of bed, the power was still off. When the sun was up, we tried to assess damage (which was minor), except for the machine shed across the drive that had lost its roof (it ended up in the yard).

We waited. And waited. And waited, and still the power didn’t come back on. Wichita had been hit severely too. Lots of folks had damage. Lots of folks were without power. But my grandparents in Wichita? They still had power. That meant they had running water and internet access. And I desperately needed to get some work done.

So by 2pm Friday afternoon, my folks and I decided to go into Wichita. It worked great. Went in. Got a little bit of work done. Got an okay night’s sleep, and we came back out to the farm Saturday morning. And guess what we found?

Yup. The power was back on! Hooray! It was great news! … and then we discovered that the power had come back on 3pm Friday. It had come back on an hour after we left.

Figures, right?

Shabbat candle at the 2015 Seder Meal, Andover, KS

Shabbat candle at the 2015 Seder Meal, Andover, KS

Today’s verse is Micah 7:7.

As for me, I look to the Lord for help.
I wait confidently for God to save me,
and my God will certainly hear me.

Too often I run ahead of God. I want what I want, and I won’t wait for Him to tell me what He wants me to do. I’ve followed the Lord long enough to know how He reacts to my stubborn heart. He lets me go my own way for a little while until I’ve worn myself out, and then He gently leads me back to where I started.

That’s how He does it sometimes. Other times, He smacks me on the back of the head, and I can almost hear Him say, “Really? Again?”

It’s not easy to take our plans to God. You have to stop what you’re doing and turn them over and then stand still while you wait for Him to show you what He wants you to do. Granted, sometimes you don’t have time to wait, and you have to make a decision immediately. It’s in those times you need to make sure your heart is in the right place and that you’re seeking God with everything you have.

But in the moments in life where you have a choice to make and you have time to think about it, it’s really tempting to just run ahead of God. It’s easy to base your decisions on what’s right for you instead of what God says is right.

It’s so much easier to just pack up and go into town where you can have an internet connection. But is it really easier? Or is it just busy work so you can feel like you’re accomplishing something? If we’d have stayed put, we would have had power without having to pack everything up and carry it into Wichita.

In the end, it probably cost us more money, and I know it cost us extra time and frustration and logistical issues. How many times has that same scenario played out in my life? I run into an unexpected obstacle, and I face a choice–to do what I want to do or to wait until God tells me.

It’s not easy to wait. Even if you’re actively waiting, you still feel like you’re not doing anything (that’s a lie, by the way).

Now, in this instance, I did get to visit with my grandparents, and that was great. But what about the next time I run into some inconvenience in my life? Will I remember to ask God what He wants me to do? Or will I just do what I want because it seems to be the easiest option at the time?

Think about it now. Decide where you’ll go for help now before you need it. And don’t be afraid to wait on God.

Sunrise behind a tree - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

God doesn’t need your help to pull off His plan.

I’m a control freak. I think I’ve mentioned that once or twice before. It’s difficult for me to relax until I know every aspect of what’s happening around me. I don’t really like to be in control at all, but I still put myself in positions where I have to be. And I think life would really be a lot easier if I stopped trying to control everything and just let God work.

Sunrise behind a tree - Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Sunrise behind a tree – Glen Eyrie, Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verses are Psalm 138:7-8.

Though I am surrounded by troubles,
    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

I can worry myself into a pit if I’m not careful. I can stress myself out over nothing if I don’t keep my guard up. God has proven Himself to me over and over and over again, but I still keep trying to add my own meager strength to His plan. And He doesn’t need my help.

I love how this set of verses says that it’s God who will work out His plans for me. God works them out. Not me. And I’m glad for that because I can hardly figure my plans out for the day, let alone my whole life. And I find it doubly interesting how the Amplified Version puts the same verse (Psalm 138:8):

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endure forever—forsake not the works of Your own hands.

That strikes a chord with me this morning. God isn’t just working out the plans for my life; He’s perfecting them. Jeremiah 29:11 comes to mind: that God has plans for me to give me a hope and a future. Good plans. And that He’s working all the details out so that everything can be perfect. It may not be perfect now, but God has seen my future and it’s good.

I’ve been on vacation for the past week. It was really nice to get away, even though it was super hot and I’ve been eaten alive by mosquitos. I can’t express how nice it was to wake up and not have to face the slough of difficult phone calls and challenging emails, the discouragement of late projects and the constant pressure to perform. Don’t misunderstand. I’m thankful for my job. But it’s very stressful. And even as it was, I still had to field a few emails from work while I was on vacation, so I know what I’m walking back into this morning and it’s not going to be pretty.

But I know that God has a plan. And I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be right now. And even though things may not be perfect and they may not be the way I want them to be, I trust that God is working things out. So because I trust Him, I keep going.

The Message is a paraphrase, so I don’t use it for deep Bible study, but so many times I think it really captures the essence of what the Greek is saying in a way that English can’t. And I love how it puts this same set of verses:

   When I walk into the thick of trouble,
      keep me alive in the angry turmoil.
   With one hand
      strike my foes,
   With your other hand
      save me.
   Finish what you started in me, God.
      Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.

If we’re doing God’s will for us today, living according to the Bible, taking each day a step at a time, doing what we know is right, following the Spirit’s leading, God’s got our back. And nothing is going to happen to us that He hasn’t already figured out. We don’t need to control it. We don’t need to understand it. We just need to go with it.

God will finish what He started. He’s perfected His plans for our life. We just need to turn over control and let Him do what He wants to do. He’ll do it anyway, but if we fight Him for power in our lives, it will just make trouble for us. Turn over control; He knows where He’s going.