There’s an old Jewish proverb that says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” I was thinking about that proverb because, as I write this, it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I am sitting in my study listening to the pouring rain outside, waiting on my phone to ring.
We’d made plans to go up to my Dad’s tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and share a meal with the extended Tyra clan. However, our daughter is currently in the local hospital, about to give birth to our next grandson. So my wife has called the appropriate family members and apprised them of the situation. Everything is “on hold” for us until the baby is born.
We had all assumed that the new baby would be born before now, and my wife and I could go on to my Dad’s while our daughter and her family spent Thanksgiving at home with the new baby. But apparently nobody told the baby what the plan was, because for the time being he’s still firmly ensconced in his safe, warm place. The Thanksgiving holiday is turning out differently than we had imagined it. And I think I might have heard a chuckle from heaven.
Everybody makes assumptions about how their life will go, how things will turn out. And rarely do events unfold just like we’d imagined. Holidays turn out differently. Plans turn out differently. Sometimes marriages and careers turn out differently. Family turns out differently. This isn’t always a bad thing; sometimes it’s very good. But life almost always surprises us with twists and turns.
Turns out, we’re not really in charge. Oh, we’re responsible for our decisions and we should make every effort to be as wise as possible in our choices. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about that.
But Proverbs also says, “The heart of man plans his own way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) That means that we make our own decisions, but ultimately God is in charge.
Sometimes, like a petulant two-year old, we stamp our foot and inform God how things are going to be. And God seems about as impressed with that as we are of a defiant two-year old.
The Lord Jesus modeled for us the right attitude to adopt. It was while He was praying in anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. Dreading the cross, He prayed: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus was entirely submissive to the Father’s will.
We needn’t reserve that prayer or that attitude just for times of anguish, though. Whenever we’re faced with the possible difference between what we want versus how it might turn out, it is always good for us to tell God: “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
What I wanted to do tomorrow was to show off pictures of the new baby while we ate Thanksgiving dinner at my Dad’s. Instead, it looks like we’re going to be having a much smaller dinner at home in between visits to the hospital to see our daughter and the new baby. Different than we expected…but still very, very good!
I’m going to go back to the hospital here in a little while to see my daughter again. And I’ll probably tell the baby, “It’s time for you to come out now!”
I wonder if the heart monitor picks up laughter?
Soli Deo Gloria!
P.S. – The rest of the story is this: on Thanksgiving, a little past 2:30 in the afternoon, our second grandson, Augustus Robert Lore, was born! Ten fingers, ten toes, a headful of dark brown hair, and he lifted his head up right after they laid him in his mother’s arms! Welcome to the world, baby August!
And deep, heartfelt gratitude to our God and Father, the Giver of all good gifts! (James 1:17) Amen!