I’ve heard repeatedly that if you want to make God laugh, plan. The summer of ’99 was the first time I heard that. I was in the middle of wedding plans with my fiance and really resisted that reality. We had plans, a date to get married and were excited about all the details. But it wasn’t to be.

Five months later things were no more. Thanks a lot, Kate Newman (actually, if you know Kate, please let me know; I’ve been trying to get a hold of her!) She’s the one who said that plan, God laugh quote to me.

The following year I made another plan not to date anyone. I knew that was what I was supposed to do. But of course, you guessed it; I was married on the last day of the year. And God made it really clear at the time it was “to be.” Now understand, I don’t recommend meeting and marrying in 7-8 months like we did. And I definitely don’t recommend dating or marrying your boss’s daughter; but I do know that our plans often aren’t always what’s best for us.

Recently I said I’d do something only if x or y happened. It gave me peace (and still does) and more importantly was healthy and made sense. Until z came along. Dang it. I hate you Z! Z, you make me stressed, disappointed, sad and are absolute torture to me.

But then I realize that my plans aren’t what’s best. My hopes aren’t always what God delivers. And my expectations both fall short and get superseded by God. Right now, it really bugs me. My heart hurts. I’m angry. And it’s torture. It really is. But I know it’s not about me. It never is, no matter how much I make it about me; it’s just not about me. Even God’s love for me; it’s not about me. My hurt? Not mine to bear. My joy? An offering and blessing from the true joy-giver. My burdens? In part something to let go and in another part of the cross to bear (Luke 9:23).

I still hate z, but I trust God’s sovereignty. I trust that even when z’s come along, He is still in control of everything and the One I’m to follow. Following God through the z’s of life is hard. It’s not easy to give your life to Jesus and do things you really don’t want to. I used to think that when I follow Jesus the things we know we have to do will become things we want to do. Sometimes we do enjoy and desire things we never thought we would. But there’s a lot that we need to just suck up and deal with. It sucks, frankly, but we need to suck it up. For His glory, for the building up of others and for our own growth. We may hate it, but it’s not our plans.

You can hope that God will see you through not matter what you have to do. Even that is a difficulty in and of itself. But He will. And when we realize it’s not about us, we hope with a different perspective. I’m thankful for the z’s. I don’t like them, but I know they are for our good ultimately. That too-often quoted passage in Romans, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose,” is true. But sometimes the good is a a long, long way off from the here and now. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1), but like hope, it isn’t always easy. We doubt. We get stubborn. We get/have hard hearts. We think we know what is right. We plan. We hurt. We feel. We dream. We think we see.

But it’s not about us.

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