Best laid plan

But now, says the LORD— the one who created you, Jacob, the one who formed you, Israel: Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched and flame won’t burn you. ~Isa. 43:1-2 (CEB)

I am a planner yet there are days where the best laid plans get interrupted. Once in a while those days turn into day after day of difficulties and darkness no matter how much I long for lighter loads and light paths. Then there are other times where everything is going just as I planned and I should feel on top of the world when suddenly I find myself hanging on by my fingernails over a cliff. It is good for me to realize in these moments that I am not the only person to find myself in the darkness, with difficulties, or disappointing surprises in the midst of faithful sunny days.

When I read Mark 6 I find that Jesus has encountered rejection in his hometown. This is the first missionary venture with his disciples. It comes after the death of John, the feeding of the five thousand, walking on water and the healing in Gennesaret. Just in chapter 6 alone do I witness one end of the emotional scale to the other, Jesus experiences great sadness, great miracles as well as great disappointments all in a short period of time. Talk about an emotional roller coaster!

Compared to Jesus and the disciples’ lives, my life may seem a bit steadier. The peaks and valleys a little more subdued than what they experienced. However, I do live through those periods when nothing seems to go my way, the winds of life are blowing against me and I am working hard but gaining no ground. This is the same place the disciples found themselves as they strained at the oars against adverse wind. Just as Jesus appeared to them he appears to me in the midst of my terrors: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50) My storm can be over the moment I choose to recognize Jesus.

Such experiences can be used to sharpen my ability to see God at work in the midst of my life if I will let it. I am not alone when things are not going my way, just as I was not alone when things were going my way. Everything I experience is an opportunity to pay attention to God’s presence and to call for God to work in my life.

Heavenly Father, help me to remember while I am in the midst of the storm to look up to find Your face for I know that once my eyes land on You the storm begins to settle. Take my hand this day as I walk along. May I hear Your voice nudge me this way or that as I pursue Your will for this day. Amen.

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