The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. -C.S. Lewis
Him: Can I go run in the leaves?
Him: So I can jump in them and be happy!
“The best-laid schemes of mice and men / often go awry,” goes the poem, and the incidence of things going “awry” seems unusually high lately. Sickness, unexpected calls, frustrating inefficiencies (making a wrong turn and watching the time to destination jump up exponentially, anyone?), kids being kids.
So I’ve been walking around, muttering to myself, of mice and men, of mice and men.
I say I’ve been muttering, but a better word for it would be grumbling. I have been grumbling about interruptions from people, my circumstances, and the general state of being human which guarantees my making mistakes. But I am fighting, and failing but by grace still in the fight, to pivot my perspective around Proverbs 19:21.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Few things show my sinful desire to be God, and my inability to be him, like my plans do. More specifically, the interruption of them. Again and again in the Scriptures God challenges those who pridefully make our plans apart from him, confident in our own ability to carry them out. God frustrates the plans of persons and nations and in doing so shatters our illusions. We thought we were more than we are, surely we were deluded. Truly, truly, he alone is God.
And this is a good thing. The firmness of his plans and sureness of his purposes.
Because it means that even when our best-laid plans are toppled, we are not left alone to be tossed to and fro by circumstances. And instead of a resigned shoulder shrug, “well, of mice and men,” we have resounding truth: God’s purpose stands.
Our lives are not dependent on our own limited vision and meticulous planning. Nor are we ultimately at the whims of other people, sickness, traffic, and our own mistakes. Rather, our steps are determined by God who created and redeemed us.
Our God is mighty and there is none like him, dwelling in the high and lofty places. Yet in his mercy he bends his power to help us and sets his wisdom toward planning our lives. Now our loving Shepherd who willingly gave his life for us, tenderly leads his sheep along the paths laid out for us. And the good news is that though we may grumble at the frustration of our plans and the One who ordains interruptions, circumstances, limitations, he still is determined to do us good. He continually works all things for our knowledge and love of him, our Christlikeness and fruitfulness, our joy and his glory.
Thus, I am hoping to grow in receiving the interruptions that seem to mark my days as God-ordained invitations.
A mistake, something I overlooked that I feel like I shouldn’t have—
He is helping me to put to death the perfectionism which suffocates grace.
Tasks taking longer than expected—
He is challenging my lifeless idol of productivity. “Can you do what I do? Do you really have power? Can you give life?”
A fussy baby on my hip, a hungry 3-year old by my side, as I stand in a how-did-it-get-so-messy-again-already home—
He is making me more like Christ, and giving me a chance to choose to believe these words even as I type them.
Cries of “MOOOOMMM” from the other room—
He is nudging me on, giving a chance to join him as he works in the lives of others. (How often the interruptions come in the form of the precious little people living in my house who I profess to serve!)
A boy wanting to jump in leaves and be happy—
He is beckoning me to stop and rest, to not miss his gifts, and to trust the One who gives good gifts I did not even know to want.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand—
He is building my life. Bringing it to me day by day, moment by moment, interruption by interruption.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. – Psalm 138:8