Though I am a creature of habit, I am not a morning person by nature. But over the years of sleepless nights with young children, I have actually come to appreciate the early hours of the day. On one particular morning, I tiptoed down the stairs to grab a cup of coffee and start my day before the sun rises. But as soon as I sat down with my Bible and took my first sip of hot coffee, I heard the creaking of a bedroom door, followed by the excited pitter-patter of tiny feet that got louder and louder until I saw a messy-haired, half-asleep child standing before me. As he climbed into my lap, snuggling up next to me while sitting on my Bible and nearly knocking over my coffee, I experienced a flood of emotions–thankfulness for my child, frustration over my interrupted morning, anxiety over my to-do list. I sighed and thought to myself, "I'll try again tomorrow."
We all have examples of when our plans go awry. It could be a small inconvenience to your day, like a child waking up early. Or it could be a fork in the road that changes the course of your life, like an unexpected diagnosis. Our days are often filled with interruptions, big and small, to our normal rhythms. Without reflecting on who God is, even the smallest obstacles can feel impossible to overcome. What we believe about God will inform how we respond when things don't go our way. Below are a couple of things that are important to remember about God when things don't go our way.
God acts with purpose (Romans 8:28-30, Ephesians 1:11)
God works in our lives with great purpose and intentionality. Nothing is by chance or accident. When we pray about circumstances in our lives, we ask God to answer our prayers according to His will, and rightly so. There are verses that speak directly to God's will, and interestingly, these verses often center around our sanctification through how we respond to our circumstances (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 5:16-18). A change in plans allows us the opportunity to walk in His ways and not our own. In His wisdom, God chooses to refine us and sanctify us through our circumstances.
God is sovereign (Lamentations 3:37–39)
Ultimately, we can choose to submit our lives and plans to God because He is sovereign. The God of the universe is sovereign over traffic, nap times, overdue work deadlines, everything. He is over every minute and every hour of our days. Do we find comfort in that reality, or are we tempted to push against it? Do we find rest in the sovereignty of God, or do we try to take control in the situation? When we remember that we are not in control, we can truly rest in God regardless of our circumstances.
When our days do not go according to plan, we can respond in a variety of ways. Idols of comfort and control can rise to the surface, demanding our allegiance. Our response to change will reveal who or what sits on the throne of my heart. We may be tempted to avoid God or try to be our own god, forcing circumstances to bend to our will rather than God's. Instead, let the discomfort of change draw us into deeper intimacy with the Lord. Rejoice in God of our salvation, the One who never changes!