In this life we live it seems that timing is everything. My focus is rarely on how things will work out five minutes from now and almost always on how things will work out five weeks, months or years from now. I feel the need to plan everything according to the personal timeline I have set.
And sometimes, that timeline is wrecked. Actually, a lot – if not most – of the time that timeline is wrecked. It is not uncommon to absolutely know that you’re headed down the perfect path, only for a bend that you didn’t see coming to get in your way. It is not uncommon to want something so badly that you’ve convinced yourself that if you want it hard enough, you can will it in to being. It is not uncommon to look at where you are in life and think that this can’t be right; somewhere along the road, something must have gone terribly wrong for you to end up here.
It is not uncommon to feel that way, but it is also not realistic. I know this because I know that there is a God who created the universe that set a plan for my life that is so good and so perfect that I could never imagine it myself. I know that no matter where I am in this life, He is with me and He is for me and He is making a way for me to follow the path he has laid. I know this to be 100% true, but there are still times that I look in the rearview mirror and think… “that was it. I missed it. My moment. Gone.”
I don’t mean to say that at 19 years old I’ve lived a life of regret. Obviously, I don’t mean that at all. But what I do mean is I feel that there have been key moments in my life that I have prayed for and prayed over and rejoiced in and still lost. There have been moments when my timing and God’s timing lined up so flawlessly that I imagined it would be that way forever. There have been moments when I praised God for answered prayers that fit my timeline, only to have them crushed in the days/weeks/months to come. I’ve praised Him in the good and I’ve cried out in the bad. I’ve felt comforted in the answers and I’ve questioned his goodness in the aftermath. I’ve spent an entire year of my life so convinced that God gave me a shot and I missed it and from here on out, nothing could be that good again.
Maybe it sounds juvenile, but it’s honest. There aren’t a lot of specific times in my life that I could look at in the moment and say “this was an answered prayer” but one of the only times I could, it was gone as quickly as it came. And wow have I wallowed in that. I’ve thrown pity party after pity party for myself because I felt like God just forgot me. I’ve questioned if he even heard me at all because as I pleaded for answers, I received silence.
Emerging from the fog of moments missed is in no way easy. But to live in that fog, to live in the idea that the Lord gives you one shot and if you screw it up you’re doomed for eternity, is essentially to say that the thing you messed up is bigger than God. That thing you did or said or didn’t do or say, that’s too much for Him. It’s as if you are undermining the sheer immensity of the Lord and waving him off as nothing more than a limited human being like yourself.
As I was driving back to school from Thanksgiving break, the song Thy Will by Hillary Scott started playing. I’ve heard it probably a hundred times, but the words are so good that they catch my attention every time.
“I’m so confused, I know I heard you loud and clear. So I followed through, and somehow I ended up here. I don’t wanna think, I may never understand. That my broken heart is a part of your plan. When I try to pray, all I’ve got is hurt and these four words.
Thy Will Be Done.”
How comforting is it to know that in the moments when your timeline and your plans are crumbling under your feet, the Lord God is already picking up the broken pieces and making something entirely new? How incredible is it that we serve a God who cares for you enough to write you a story all your own? How good is it to see that although in this moment you can’t imagine a day when the timing works out, that day will come and at just the right hour, your purpose/plan/potential will be fulfilled?
Planning your life is hard. Knowing what to do, where to go and who to be is a process that lasts a lifetime. But knowing that even though I mess up the plans and smudge the ink a little bit, my God is providing another way a million times better than my own… that’s something I can rest in.
I hope you can too.