“Now there was a stream”, she said. ” It was happily trickling down from its source, making its way across the plains and growing stronger in force and depth as it travelled. The stream’s ultimate purpose was to join in with the river that would lead her to the ocean…the majestic ocean. She had no doubts about it. But there was an unexpected problem!” Her voice quivered with excitement as she went on to the next part of the story. My husband and I watched her face closely for the rest of it like two small children listening to their grandmother’s tales, except we knew she was going to say something that would give us a little more wisdom and insight into the season of life we were in right now. “There was a desert she had to cross,” our seventy- odd year old neighbour continued. “It wasn’t any ordinary desert. It was one of the hottest ones in the region. There was no way the stream would survive till the other end, as she was just a small stream with just enough water to keep her going. As she approached the desert, she asked her Maker , ‘ Must I cross this? Is there an easier route around? ‘ Yes , you must cross this. This is the only way through to the ocean’, came the answer. ‘ Then how will I do this? It is impossibly scorching heat. I won’t make it to the other side!’ ‘Why do you worry? I will make a way’, He says. ‘But how?’, the stream asked, looking around and seeing no obvious relief to her problem. ‘I’m going to carry you through in a way you haven’t even imagined!’ The stream waited as a strong wind enveloped her, drew her into the heat as vapour and carried her as a cloud through the desert, to come to rest above the ocean. The wind blew again, as she poured herself out over the ocean, joining with it as she knew her purpose was, in a form she never could have planned or imagined…as rain…one drop at a time. In that moment she understood a mighty truth…. the scorching heat was necessary to get her here…” Aunty A stopped to catch her breath, her eyes gleaming at us with wisdom gained over the years and with the warmth of someone who had tasted and known that the Lord is good. As she got up slowly from her chair to get us some tea, we looked at each other. I swallowed a lump in my throat. God always has a way of talking to us. Always.
Have you ever been through a phase where you’ve wondered- hey, am I living out a plan B right now? Did I mess up plan A?
I’ve been through a phase like that where despite knowing with all my heart that God wouldn’t lead me to something that’s not His will for me, when things worked out differently from what I had actually planned or hoped for in my head, I have caught myself wondering one too many times- ‘Lord, must I really cross this to get there? Isn’t this too difficult? I could have been a happily trickling stream on the plains , you know. Or wait, did I miss out on plan A in the first place? ‘
It isn’t until months later that we had a sit down with this particular neighbour who told us this story. But I believe she was prompted by the One above to tell us this. Because it was so true about both of our lives- in a very short time, we found ourselves as a couple, completely out of our comfort zones, in a place we had never imagined to be in, facing testing times, but being assured all along the way of the Everlasting Arms that have been upholding us.
And after a particularly difficult week at work, when I was wondering whether we would really make it to the other side, we decided to spend an evening with this aunty downstairs, and now you know how that turned out!
‘ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
I have been reminded of these words again and again in my heart over the last few months.
Think about it, when the God who created the heavens and the earth and everything else in all of creation, when He who calls the stars by name and knows the number of hairs on my head, says that He knows the plans He has for me…why would I even imagine that there was a plan B in the first place!
And thus I have resolved in my heart- That my only plan is to BE in Him as He leads me along- as water, as vapour or as a cloud. What He plans would be the best there could be to it!
Friend, have you been in a season of second guessing? You’re looking at the desert ahead and thinking it’s going to dry you up? Wondering whether you missed a train?
I don’t know about you, but, to me, it’s exhausting to even begin to imagine that I could make a perfectly balanced decision each time I’m faced with making a choice. I’m glad I have a Father in whom I can place my life and follow His leading all the way.
May I invite you to do the same today? Place your hand in His. And let’s just plan to BE in Him. Our lives will unfold in ways we could’ve never imagined or even hoped for.
Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You’re working for our good
You’re working for our good and for Your glory
Your plans are still to prosper
You have not forgotten us
You’re with us in the fire and the flood
You’re faithful forever
Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us (Sovereign over us, Michael W Smith)