When Life Doesn't Go As Planned
Updated: Jun 19
What dreams did you have as a child?
You imagined who you would marry, how many kids you would have (or not have), where you would live, and what you would do. You mapped out your life and expected the pieces to fall into place.
But some pieces didn't fit.
You envisioned wellness, but sickness cursed you and your family.
You dreamed of a happy family, but infertility, death, or divorce vanished your dreams.
You hoped for unity, but relationships remained strained.
You longed for stability, but jobs came and went leaving you wondering how you would pay the bills.
How can life be so different than you planned?
In my life, I dreamed of marrying my sweetheart, starting a family, serving as a missionary, and the list continues.
Most have been fulfilled, but some plans have been altered, unexpected, even painful:
struggling in my marriage, leaving the mission field, watching my mom deteriorate with Lou Gehrig Disease and then pass away, working through my son's eye injury, and other things.
We all have situations in our lives that don't make sense, or we wish that we could change. We may doubt God's goodness and wonder why we are experiencing these problems.
"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God." 2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV
It is for our benefit. Behind the scenes, God is weaving together a beautiful masterpiece for His glory. We can't see the big picture, but we can trust Him.
So what do we when life doesn't go as planned?
1. PRESSING ON. Don't give up, but keep going. God promises to give you the strength and grace you need for today.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV
2. FLEETING TRIALS. Remember our problems are short-lived and God is at work. Even though our troubles seem never-ending, they are small in comparison to eternity.
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." 2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV
3. FOCUSING ON JESUS. Take your eyes off of your situation and put them on Jesus. This is easy to say, but hard to do because it is a constant choice of renewing your mind with Scripture.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
We all want our lives to go as planned, but when it doesn't we can trust our loving Father. He is in control.
This week my son and I read "God's Trees" by Helen Bower, and it illustrates this point perfectly. (I have paraphrased the story in my own words.)
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" someone asked three trees in a forest.
"I want to help children," the first tree said.
"I want to be rich and famous," the next tree said.
The third one paused and pondered, "I'm not sure, but I would like to point people to Jesus."
Years past and the three trees were cut down.
People crafted the first tree into an animal feeding trough, the second tree into a fishing boat, and the third tree into a rough cross.
Disappointment settled on the trees. This is not what we planned for our lives.
One night a baby nestled into the trough. Not just any baby, but God's Son. The tree couldn't believe he held Jesus!
Men fished all night aboard the ship and caught nothing, yet Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side. More fish than-they-had-ever-seen before swam into their nets. The tree witnessed a miracle!
The sad cross stood on a hill bearing the dying man, until he realized it was Jesus. He pointed others to Him.
When life doesn't go as planned, remember God is as work behind the scenes creating a beautiful masterpiece for His glory. We can trust Him.