Today, Monday, May 28, 2018, is observed as Memorial Day for Americans. While today is that for me , it is also the day that my daughter becomes just 7 days old. While I remember to observe Memorial Day for those precious lives lost serving in the United States Armed Forces protecting my freedoms, I am also observing a beautiful newborn who has just begun a precious life (outside of the womb that is) all her own. Although I am ever grateful for the men and women who made an ultimate sacrifice for this country, of which I am a proud citizen of, I am even more so grateful that my Creator desired to bless me with this little bundle of joy.
You see, she is a reminder of how my plans mean nothing when in comparison to the Will of God.
Years ago, I had made a few decisions, quietly to myself, concerning how my life would end up. I had determined to not get married, never have kids, and especially never have 2 kids. Older people, with a bit more wisdom under their belt, would lovingly lean over to me and say things like: “If you want to make God laugh, then tell Him your plans.” However, I would typically dismiss this little proverb as a joke or an old wives’ tale. Seriously, I thought that God knew my plans regardless of me saying it out loud. Plus, would God find my ideas that amusing?
I doubted it. Still do to some degree. I don’t see Him as a Person that would casually laugh at my personal goals, no matter how foolish they are. At the same time, God gave laughter to His creation, which would make it, at least, possible (maybe plausible) that this physical way of showing joy or happiness is a part of His Being as well. It is, possibly, not foreign to Him.
Nevertheless, I took in what they said in one ear, then let it drift right out of my other ear (and mind) as I left their presence. Not knowing that God would surely be revealing to me His plans for my life in due time.
In His Way and Will, God has an amazing way to extend to His child an unspeakable joy that they did not even think possible. And, since I did not think of having a family as providing anything close to joy, I did not seek it out for my own life’s journey.
Where I had determined one way of life, He guaranteed something wholly different than what my mind could have ever calculated. My second bundle of joy has reminded me that God’s Way is always Right, even when it seems wrong. God’s Way does bring joy, even while it allows for pain. He may not completely eradicate darkness from any individual’s existence (whether it comes in the form of the inability to pay off debt or bills on time, constant illness, etc.); however, He, as only He can, provides His Light, His Joy, and His Hand for those difficult times and events He allows us to face.
I still wonder what the future holds. Will my family have each other for years to come? Will I become an old man and see my children make something of themselves? Or will one of the four of us have a shortened lifespan? Obviously, I can never know the answers to these questions. That unnerves me a bit. Then, I think of Whom it is that I believe and hold to the belief that He holds all things in His hand. Long life and short life. As Dr. Martin Luther King once said, when he was near the very day that he would be assassinated, and possibly feeling his mortality all the more: “….longevity has its place. I just want to do God’s Will!”
Well, that is my desire too: to do God’s Will. Simultaneously, I find it quite interesting that even when I am not onboard with His Will, He moves forward with it and I end up being thankful for His Will and disgusted with my own plans.
His Will had my family. How could I have ever thought that an existence without them would be worth having?
Thank God that He does not bless foolishness, but He, possibly, allows for it. My foolishness, and your foolishness, will not thwart His plans.
On another note, I am also reminded of how a lover of the Lord should go about facing pain in this life. Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, a Liberty University professor and an author of works, such as Booked and Fierce Convictions, was hit by a bus while in Nashville recently. She received broken ribs and a collapsed lung, while still doing her best to joke with friends and supporters about her situation.
Sometimes, one may ask why would such a godly woman have to experience such a painful ordeal. We (or she) may never receive that answer in this life. Nevertheless, Prior gives an example of how the Christian can still choose to put their best foot forward, all for community support, and love her Lord, even in the face of such a trial.
Even with this painful ordeal that has touched the life of a woman who continues to influence, I am given other reminders: pray without ceasing, love those around you that much more, be a part of a community that will encourage you through trials and tribulations, and remember the God whom you serve.
Life will have its ups and downs, but it is about having the right perspective that will get you through them with unspeakable joy.
Thank you, Dr. Prior, for your example!