Do you like surprises? Most of us do––good ones, like flowers, a box of dark chocolates or someone whisking us away to a surprise night out. Those surprises we like. It’s the bad surprises we wish would never spring up. Surprises that inconvenience us. Surprises that cut to the bone because someone said or did something we weren’t expecting. Surprises that jolt us––like death, divorce, betrayal––and we know our world will never be the same again. How can we plan for surprises like that?
The simple answer: We can’t. And to be honest, it’s hard to be okay with it.
In our professional lives, we may be very good at planning, organizing and making sense out of chaos. But in our personal lives, these skills don’t seem to get us to the top of the class. We can make plans. We can try to prepare. But circumstances and people are out of our control. None of us knows what will happen in the future. Or when. We don’t know what decisions others will make, impacting us. Their plans change and we don’t get the memo. They decide they don’t love us anymore. They lie, cheat, steal. They abandon or abuse. Their choices shatter our lives.
When our lives come to a screeching halt because of bad surprises, how can we hold onto faith? Are we supposed to just go with the flow or pretend everything is fine? Because it’s not fine. And forget the future––even getting to tomorrow is near impossible.
Many survivors have struggled with these same life-shattering surprises and found new life on the other side. We can keep going too.
One step at a time, day by day. Even if we’re a planner with no plan. Even if we’re afraid to tell people full details. Even if we feel alone. The truth is that we’re not alone. God promises each one of us, “I love you, and I have a plan.” He is in control, even if we can’t see it. Even if we don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes.
With God, there is hope for tomorrow. With God, there is strength for today.
When turmoil swirls or crisis hits, sometimes all we can do is get to the end of each day. Go to God. Be honest with Him about your fears and pain. Trust in His power to part the seas and raise the dead to life. And if you’re not sure you believe in God, ask Him to reveal Himself to you like never before. God wants to be known by you. He wants to carry you forward.
“‘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
Let’s Talk: What is something God has done in your life that can give hope to a sister who is struggling?
May I pray? Dear Lord, we don’t always understand why things happen. We never truly know what tomorrow will bring. But we do know that the choices of others have hurt us deeply. Father, I pray for those reading this now who still have wounded hearts and are struggling with the aftermath of bad decisions––their own, and those of others. I pray that You will place Your healing hand upon their heart, and that You will bring them comforting peace as they turn to and trust in You. May they be willing to give You a chance to work a miracle in their life. And may we all find hope in Your power and Your promises. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.