I am a planner. I mean a Four-Year-Plan, multiple-sheet Excel worksheet, down-to-the-minute planner. Unfortunately, sometimes things go out of order, a little bit helter-skelter – and other things just go completely wrong.
I’d like to tell you that my reaction to those moments is a deep breath and an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty. Unfortunately, too often I throw what can only be described as a temper tantrum. It’s not fair! This isn’t what I wanted! And the craziest of all: This isn’t what’s best!
I had one of those temper tantrums this summer when a day I’d planned so perfectly filled very quickly with unexpected twists. As I sat and talked with my boyfriend about the way I’d handled the situation, he said to me, “What’s physically inconvenient may be, in God’s plan, exactly what’s spiritually convenient.”
According to Merriam-Webster, convenient means “suited to personal comfort or to easy performance; suited to a particular situation; affording accommodation or advantage.” Inconvenient things are the opposite of that. They make us uncomfortable. They don’t fit neatly into our planners. We feel that they put us at a disadvantage, that they make us worse daughters or sisters or students or employees. Yet what’s physically inconvenient may be, in God’s plan, exactly what’s spiritually convenient.
There’s no denying that changes to our plans are inconvenient. From something as simple as having to drive a friend to the airport unexpectedly, to a huge life change like switching your career or following a calling to missions, changes that throw wrenches in our plans are frustrating.
And yet if God is sovereign (and He is!), none of these changes in our plans are accidental.
Because God is sovereign, nothing that has ever happened in your entire life is contrary to His plan. Everything that has ever happened, is happening, and will happen to you is spiritually convenient, because God works all things together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Nothing that happens deviates from his plan, even if it significantly deviates from our own.
What you wouldn’t have chosen as particularly suited to your comfort, like Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:1-10), God may have ordained in order to show you your weakness and cause you to lean on Him. He may have ordained it for a reason you might find out tomorrow, or next week, or not at all.
When our plans change, the reason isn’t always delivered to us neatly, tied up in a nice little bow. You might never know why that important conversation needed to happen when you planned to go to the gym, or why your car broke down, or why you were suddenly called to a different school. In the midst of small changes alongside huge twists in our stories, we do not have to know exactly what God is doing to know that He is doing. And not only is He doing, but He is doing what is best.
Here is what we do know: His ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). He is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does (Psalm 145:17). He is the Sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, who created all things (Acts 4:24). He makes known to us the path of life (Psalm 16:11). His ways are holy, and there is no god like Him (Psalm 77:13). He can do all things, and no purpose of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2). This is the God we worship, the King we serve, and the Author who writes our stories.
The roadblocks and twists and turns He places in our path are physically inconvenient – no question about that. But they fulfill His plan for us, His plan that is better than anything we could ask or imagine, so perfectly. And He carries out this plan by His power that is at work within us – the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20, 3:20-21)!
So, whatever inconveniences you come across this week, whether they wreck your carefully determined plans or merely take you by surprise, know that those changes are not unexpected to God. In fact, they may be exactly what He needs to accomplish His purpose for you.