When Life Doesn't Go According To Plan

Enoch walked with God ...
— Genesis 5:24 ESV

I'm a planner, a schedule guy.

I think you can divide the world between those who live by the schedule and those who don't. Okay, it's not that simple, but my schedule has served me well. Take the morning part of my daily routine. I rise early, write a blog post and try to post it to my site by 4:00 a.m. I post ASAP for the sake of my fellow early risers. We like to get a jump on the front end of the day.

Right now, it is way past 7:30 a.m. Already I'm feeling like it is mid afternoon.  Sometimes life does not go according to plan. Interruptions happen, like last night. I was at a meeting when I got a text from Shannan followed by a phone call. In our household that is code for "get home now!"

It was a semi-emergency.

We are helping to watch our granddaughters these days while their momma -- whose own schedule got seriously interrupted -- is patiently enduring day upon day in a small room at the hospital. A little brother is coming, but he is requiring some special attention before he arrives.

Back at our home, our granddaughter Annabelle ran into the arm of a wing-back chair in our  living room. She bopped her nose and had to be taken to the hospital to make sure all was well. That is when my schedule changed, but then so did everyone's: Annabelle's, Grandma's, her daddy's (who came to her rescue from 40 minutes away), her momma's, the sisters, and those of you who read this (the post is coming much later than the norm). 

So life did not go according to plan. It has happened to you, right? I was reflecting on this on my later-than-normal walk this morning. This is what came to mind:

  1. Interruptions are a normal part of life.
    I see this in the Older Testament and in the New Testament. God commanded his people rest on the Sabbath, but there is an exception clause when "the ox is in the ditch" (Luke 14:5). Why? Because interruptions happen. Matthew records the time when Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to endure the cross. On the road two blind men cry out to him, "Lord, have mercy on us." What does he do with this "interruption"? He stops. He heals. He moves on. The lesson is clear. Life is not a straight line between point A and point B. Interruptions will happen. Life does not go according to my plan.
  2. God is bigger than my interruption.
    I relax and rest when I remember that "God is bigger than that." He can work in and through and around and over the interruptions of life. In fact, he does! Why else would Paul encourage me to thank God IN everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18) and to thank God FOR everything (Ephesians 5:20)? The reason is because he is working IN EVERYTHING. Interruptions remind me that life is not about me, or my plans, or my wants, or my wishes, or even my precious schedule. Paul writes, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36). Perhaps the interruption means that the Lord wants me on another assignment.
  3. The "interruption" often comes with a delightful surprise.
    When I arrived home last night so Shannan could run to the hospital, I arrived to find Annabelle's sisters in bed, anxiously waiting for their nighttime story. What a gift. I had the opportunity to sit and read with Summer and Holly before they nodded off for the night. We read the story of Kicker and Timber, two rabbits who learned the importance of forgiveness. It was a great lesson but outdone by the hugs and kisses I received from the girls. I would have missed that had I continued uninterrupted with my busy plans.

Of course, not every interruption is delightful. For Annabelle it was a bruised nose, for her daddy it was a rush from one hospital to another. For grandma it meant a change of plans. 

I was thinking about all of this earlier today on my walk when God reminded me about Enoch. Enoch, the Scriptures tells us, "walked with God." Study Genesis 5. Things went pretty well for Enoch. When I understand that walking with God, not accomplishing a plan, is my end game it makes it easier to accept, embrace, and "enjoy" the interruption.

At the end of the day, the goal is not to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of hassle. The goal is to walk with God. And that means continuing to walk with him when life does not go according to plan.