“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Heading towards the living room sofa, I was recounting to my husband a news story I had recently heard. As my passionate reaction to what I had learned was about to reach a fever pitch, my leg was gripped with an excruciating cramp. Quick as lightning, it bent at the knee, pulling my foot up from the floor. I yelled instinctively, “JOHN!” Other than “LORD, Help!” it’s my typical response anytime I find myself in trouble. But “JOHN” didn’t answer. Hmmm . . . I yelled again, and still no response. Finally, moaning and groaning, I managed to straighten my leg out, and the pain began to subside. I turned my head and noticed I was alone. He wasn’t even there. The sun was glowing from behind the bedroom curtains and he was “somewhere, out there” having his morning walk with Olivia. (That’s our dog, for those who aren’t aware. Just sayin’…)
What? What just happened here? Did I actually dream all that pain? I felt the back of my leg. Ouch! No, I didn’t dream it. That Charley horse had left its footprint, for sure.
Isn’t it strange the way something like a real life leg cramp can smoothly weave it’s way into our dream . . . uninvited and unwanted?
Sometimes unwelcome things work their way into our lives without our consent, too. They are things we would not choose nor desire, yet they come unbidden, reminding us that we are not in control of everything. In reality, we are not in control of anything. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14) God can change anything in our lives, at any time. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
That, however, should not frighten us. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ “ (Jeremiah 29:11)
What we do have control of is how we will respond to our circumstances. I have always been impressed with Michael J. Fox in the way he handled his diagnosis of Parkinsons. I don’t know his spiritual persuasion, but when asked in an interview how he was handling the grim diagnosis, he said simply., “I factor it in and move on.” So simple, yet profound. It is reality for him and his family. They can’t change it, but they look at it and deal with it each day, making whatever adjustments are necessary to keep moving on with their lives.
Years ago, when my severely burned four year old granddaughter’s life hung in a balance, we were told that if she survived, our lives would eventually return to normal . . . a “new” normal, but normal. When tragedy or unforeseen circumstances arise, we can give up or we can “factor it in and move on,” trusting the One whose ultimate plan is to prosper and not to harm us. That’s a new normal that’s worth embracing! I’m happy to report to you that we just celebrated this precious granddaughter’s eighteenth birthday last night. She is a beautiful young lady whom I know is going to be used by God in amazing ways, because she and her family factored their reality in to the reality of the Jesus they knew, and never gave up.
Unlike in my dream, we have a God who always hears us when we cry out. “In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. (Psalm 18:6)
So, my friend, have you been dealt a hard hand today? Though life may bring us many unexpected challenges, take a deep breath, and hear this . . .
“. . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Factor THAT into your day, and watch what happens! That’s the view from here . . .