I wasn’t ‘supposed’ to be there or so I thought.
Shopping off schedule, not on my normal day, shifting things around to accommodate other schedule shifts, cramming activity into the overstuffed container of life. And now here I was, shopping at a Wal-Mart in the middle of the afternoon instead of during my normal morning jaunt through the store with a shopping cart and a coupon book before the crowd arrived after lunch.
I pushed my way through the sale items at the front of the store with my focus on my mission—shop, gather the items on my list without distraction, save money, and leave.
But then I saw her, a friend at the pharmacy counter. Stopping for a quick ‘hello,’ the kind of cheerful greeting we small-town folks exchange in the Wal-Mart all the time, I pushed my cart to the side of the aisle hoping not to be in the way of other annoyed shoppers on mission.
This friend, though, didn’t need just a cheerful chat, but a sharing-the-heart kind of talk, a prayer right there in the middle of Band-Aids and Tylenol.
God sent her to the Wal-Mart at just that moment and then He rocked my world all crazy, turning my schedule upside down and sent me right on into that Wal-Mart at the exact same time she would be there.
I like to hold this white-knuckled control over my calendar and my agenda, fitting everything in just right and not being willing to bend, to flex, to rearrange and adjust, not without whining and complaining at least.
A few days later, God over-turned my normal routine again with special school events and unexpected trips to the post office. There I was driving down the Main Street of town when I ‘shouldn’t’ have been and I was thinking of the to-do list items to cross off, the errands to run, the destination and the mission all over again.
But He opened my eyes to see ‘her,’ a woman I knew limping along the sidewalk painfully slowly.
I didn’t even debate over my plans. Instead, I zoomed into the nearest driveway and she climbed into the mini-van (after I shoved aside the napkins, papers, and other Mom mess) so I could drive her to work.
A little blessing for her.
A huge blessing for me, this reminder of God’s divine agenda, the appointments He sets for us and the way I can miss them so easily in my stubborn addiction to having my own way.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
“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.”
God’s involvement in my agenda isn’t always painful or unpleasant, but it does have this way of being unexpected. Like Proverbs 19:21 says:
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Yes, I’m a ‘many plans’ kind of person who learns slowly to yield to this God with a perfect purpose.
God interrupts, intervenes, and now I must choose—whine and complain, reject and insist on my way, or submit and adjust and trust His plans, like Moses in the wilderness outside Mount Horeb as he tended his father-in-law’s sheep.
Moses wasn’t meandering along, aimless and purposeless. He had a plan to lead “the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God” (Exodus 3:1).
But God lit a fire within a bush and captured Moses’s attention.
What if Moses hadn’t stopped? What if he waited until later, choosing to finish his own plan and then return to check out the curiosity? Or if he’d ignored the interruption, adamantly determined to do things his way, in his own timing, and in his own strength?
Oh, how Moses would have missed out on God’s glory and God’s purposes for his life and his people!
Instead, Moses yielded. He said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight” (Exodus 3:4).
This turning aside is what God teaches me in this walk of obedience, the willingness to be interrupted, the trusting Him with my agenda and not worrying and fretting over the unexpected and the out-of-control.
Turning aside when I see God at work, I join Him there and give Him praise.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer 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. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King