Turning Aside

Last week, my husband’s work schedule shifted around and as a result, so did mine.  He would arrive home from work, eat dinner, do the evening activities, and then go back to work late at night, sometimes not crawling into bed until after 4:00 in the morning.  Then, the next day, he would stay home a little bit longer in the morning to recover some sleep time (barely) and head to work again in the afternoon.

During this great schedule shifting, I found myself  performing my weekly grocery shopping sans children in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday.  This has never happened to me before.  I like to follow a regular weekly schedule; shopping day isn’t on Tuesdays and certainly doesn’t occur after lunchtime when everyone else in my tiny town is also at Wal-Mart.  But, as soon as I walked through the automatic doors and turned the first corner of the store with my empty shopping cart, I knew why I was there.  It was a divine appointment.  I spotted a friend in line at the pharmacy counter, a friend who needed a chat, a prayer, and someone to help pass the hour-long wait time.

A few days later, because of a special school event, I left my daughters’ school 15 minutes earlier than normal and drove in the opposite direction from my home in order to go to the post office (to mail my delinquent Mother’s Day card to my momma!).  On a normal Friday afternoon at that time, I would still be idling my van in line to pick my daughters up from school.  But not that day.   Instead, I was driving down Main Street when I passed a woman limping along the sidewalk at a painfully slow pace.  I knew her.  We zoomed into the nearest driveway and she climbed into the van for a painless and quick drive to her workplace.  It was a divine appointment.  We wouldn’t have been there if not for God shaking my schedule up a bit.

I read in an  article this week that “the great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant (or unexpected) things as interruptions in one’s own life, or real life.  The truth is, of course, that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life” (C. S. Lewis).

My divine appointments weren’t at all unpleasant, but they were unexpected.  My schedule was interrupted.  My normal messed with.  My comfort in the known shaken up.  That’s usually enough to scramble my mind for a whole day.  I don’t cope well with adjustments to my plans—not the big life plans that I form in the night as I lie awake or the daily life plans that make up my to-do lists and take up slots on my weekly calendar.  I like to make plans and follow plans.  It’s as simple as that.

God, however, often designs a different agenda for me, superior plans always, but different ones nonetheless.  As it says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  As much as I may think I know what’s best for my day or week, month, year or even life, truly God is a better judge of that.

And I can trust Him.  This verse reminds me that even in those moments when things don’t work out the way I’d like, when I don’t get my way in a meeting or my schedule doesn’t meet expectations, even in those moments when I’m pouting and whining before the Almighty’s throne about disappointment and inconvenience, even then the “Lord’s purpose prevails.”  He will win the day.  He will work out every situation I face.  He hasn’t abandoned me or failed me.  He will prevail.

I am learning, then, to “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3).  As I rise in the morning and shuffle through the house, feeding children, making lunches, (drinking hot tea!), remembering homework, kissing husband goodbye, rushing out the door late and forgetful—in all those moments, and yes even before them while I lie in my bed and quietly pray that my baby girl will sleep just another ten minutes—then I am committing my day to the Lord.  “Lord, help me this day to be the woman of God you want me to be.  Direct my steps, my conversations, my schedule.  Help me to be useful for You.  I need Your strength today to be everything You have for me to be, as a wife and mom and friend and more.”  In that submitting, slowly my plans are transformed, altered sometimes moment by moment, as they are aligned with His will.

It takes a willingness to be interrupted to really see God in those divine appointments.  Imagine Moses in the wilderness outside Mount Horeb, tending his father-in-law’s sheep.  He wasn’t meandering along, aimless and purposeless.  No, Moses had a plan.  He was leading “the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.”  It was there in that holy place that God lit a fire within a bush and captured Moses’s attention.

But, what if Moses hadn’t stopped?  What if he decided that he had a plan and a schedule to keep to?  That the sheep needed to go at a certain speed and travel a certain distance?  That there was a logical explanation for that bush afire and he was too busy to ponder the cause?  He would have missed out on seeing God, hearing God, being called by God to lead an entire nation of his own people out of almost 400 years of slavery in Egypt!

Fortunately, Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight” (Exodus 3:4).

Do you need to be willing to turn aside a little more often from your own plans and allow God to interrupt you?
Are you so focused sometimes on scheduled “ministry” that you miss out on spontaneous ministry moments God lays at your feet?
Are you speeding through life so quickly that you are missing out on opportunities to see and hear from God, all because you don’t turn aside and spend time on the holy ground of His presence?
Have you entered a season of life that you had planned so perfectly, only to find nothing going the way you expected?

Allow God to interrupt you.  Turn aside to see Him at work so that you don’t miss out on the divine appointments on His agenda or the blessing of receiving and pursuing God’s ultimate desires and plans for you.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King

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