‚ÄėIf you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.‚Äô Woody Allen
Or to put it another way‚Ä¶
‚ÄėNow listen, you who say, ‚ÄúToday or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.‚ÄĚ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow‚Ä¶ Instead, you ought to say, ‚ÄúIf it is the Lord‚Äôs will, we will live and do this or that.‚ÄĚ¬†As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.‚Äô (James 4:13-16)
There‚Äôs nothing wrong with making plans, in itself. Imagine how chaotic life would be if we never planned anything! The problem comes when we assume we know best and start boasting about how amazing our plans are. God may have other ideas, as I‚Äôve found out recently.
I started work on Monday with big ideas of what I was going to achieve during the week, but those ideas were soon scuppered. I work from home, so my normal routines and habits have been disrupted by the presence of my two sons, who are off school for six weeks‚Äô holiday and need feeding, watering, entertaining and transporting to various social engagements! Up until Tuesday evening, I was feeling highly frustrated. It was nigh on impossible to get into the right frame of mind to tackle a significant work task when I was liable to be interrupted at any moment by a small boy demanding a fish finger sandwich. But now I wonder whether God might be in this, somehow. Is it possible that he‚Äôs using this disruption to remind me of my more important responsibilities? I believe my work matters, of course. But I also believe God cares more about how I‚Äôm doing as a father than how I‚Äôm doing as a writer. So I‚Äôve been taking this opportunity to spend time with my kids. I can always work in the evenings, when they‚Äôre in bed!
Our friends in Zambia know how it feels to have God disrupt your plans, too. The team at Wukwashi never meant to get involved in Kabompo, a 14-hour drive from their base in Kitwe: their new support group there was the result of a mix-up. Last year, the team had been well on their way to their farthest-flung support group, in Chitokoloki, a good couple of hours further west from Kabompo, when they received a call cancelling the visit. But God showed he had a bigger plan for that trip‚Ä¶ and for the children of Kabompo. Aborting their visit to Chitokoloki, the team made their way to Kabompo mission station. There, someone told them about Mr Kayombo, a local man who‚Äôd been trying to help children with disabilities but who had neither resources nor support.
‚ÄėWe‚Äôve been praying for people like you for a long time!‚Äô exclaimed Mr Kayombo when Wukwashi sought him out. Mr Kayombo now heads up a Wukwashi support group for 23 children and their families, with the help of eight volunteers. Wukwashi‚Äôs plans were good, but God‚Äôs were better.
When our plans don‚Äôt turn out quite as we hoped, it‚Äôs just possible that God has better ideas. Are we prepared to let God disrupt us and point us in a new and unexpected direction?