When things don’t go your way or as planned

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
Proverbs 19:21

Today’s topic is like a part two of “That peace – a confident calmness”, which surpasses our normal human level of understanding. For me, thinking about how our plans and expectations get messed with, this coincides with the knowledge and faith that God is in control.

Why, yes, I do have an example! Sit back, grab your coffee, and keep your readers on…

When I fly, my preferred seat is the window. Seeing the layers of clouds, the patterns of the farmland, the snowcapped mountains, the roads and rivers snaking their way around the landscape, all make my heart happy. Yes, out comes the camera as I twist around for angles that hopefully doesn’t get the massive wing in the picture. The middle seat – no thank you. The aisle, well, roomy enough, but not nearly as exciting, unless you’re into people-watching.

Last week as I flew home from an out-of-town trip, my husband had told me that for both legs of that trip he had gotten window seats for me. Yay! But as I looked at my ticket when boarding, I realized that was not the case at all. I was in the middle seat E, and not the window F. UGH! That meant for the next four hours I was to be squished in the middle seat. O.K. As I approached my dreaded spot, there was a young couple sitting in D and E. I commented to them that the young woman, who was holding a baby, was in my seat. The couple both looked at their tickets, and sure enough, she was. Her seat was across the aisle, in seat C. Their frustration of juggling the baby with an aisle between them began to sink in, so I chimed in and said, “I can take your aisle seat if you’d like”, not wanting to split them up. They quickly said, “YES! Thank you!”, so I sat down in my new spot, seat C. Not the window, but not in the middle either.

Next to me in B, the middle spot, was a young lady who came across as somewhat quiet and shy. (I later learned that this was only her 2nd flight and first time flying alone, so there were some things she didn’t know; where the restroom was, that the drinks were free, and how to adjust the air.) She kept trying to sleep, but after an hour of being unsuccessful, she eventually just held her head in her hands. I had my phone out and was playing a Scrabble game on it, but kept seeing Hangman on there, and wondered if she might want to play a 2-person game. I felt this nudge to ask her for about thirty minutes, finally giving in when she put her head in her hands as though she was giving up.

“Would you like to play a game of Hangman?” I asked her. She turned and looked at me, with her brown eyes growing so big, and a huge grin sweeping across her face. “YES!” she replied. She said she thought this flight was going to be so boring, and this would help pass the time. So, for the next 1.5 hours, we played. It helped me too, as we began to speak to each other, soon actually teasing one another other about the words played and who was winning. I felt so at ease with this young lady, and could tell she did too.

We began to talk. I learned she was 19 and on her way to Chicago. Then she laid it on me. She was going to meet her father for the first time in her memory. He had left them when she was 2 or 3, eventually landing himself in prison. He had just gotten out, and she wanted to meet him before he wound up going back in. This dream of hers was about to become reality. To date, her grandmother had raised her because her mom was a drug addict. She had always wanted to meet her dad. Her “brothers” that she hadn’t seen in 10 years were picking her up and taking her to see him.

Wow, when she told me her story, I began to get teary-eyed. It was the Lord who put me right next to this precious girl. Our stories have some similarities, so this was His doing. He must have a plan for her! I shared a tiny version of my story, and we just sat there, revelling in this “chance” meeting. I told her I would be praying for her and their reunion, of which she replied, “Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.” By the time we got off the plane, our hearts had been totally bonded, and she felt almost like a daughter to me. With a tight hug, away she went.
Veronica, my prayers are still going up for you, for the rest of my life.

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

I am glad the Lord took away my window seat that day. I wouldn’t have traded it for meeting her. Thank you, Lord, for loving both of us so much.
I know He does each of you too.

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” 
James 4:13-15

“To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The LORD works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster.”
Proverbs 16:1-4

Food for thought: When things don’t go your way, consider that maybe the Lord has a far greater plan and purpose…trust completely in what He can do through your circumstances.

Fun facts: It is thought that the best seats on a plane are the exit row seats, though you will pay more for them.

Photo by: Karli Wiseman – Flight from Haiti

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