Saturday, November 29, 2008

God Willing

When I first came to Nigeria, I noticed that many people ended their sentences about future plans with 'God willing.' I thought it strange that the tailor would say, "I'll have your dresses ready in 2 weeks, God willing." In my mind I was thinking Just get it done on time, ok?

I do enjoy making plans, but I am learning a lot about surrendering those plans to God. A few weeks ago I was having an awful time because my daily plans were not working out at all. I would start the day with Plan A, but by the end of the day it was pretty close to Plan J, and I was completely frustrated. Through this, I became aware that God is more concerned about how I react to changes in my plans than to whether the plan works the way I want it to. That was a humbling lesson to hear. I can't say 'learn' because unfortunately I haven't learned it yet. I'm just aware that I need to learn it.

We tend to have a fair amount of external factors that are beyond our control so it's actually quite easy for plans to go awry.

Friday morning I was up early, handling a bit of email, getting ready for a normal workday. Suddenly all plans came to a halt as I started receiving text messages and phone calls about chaos in Jos. It became obvious that ALL plans were going to change that day.

I was hoping to attend a ladies' brunch on Saturday. No way.

We had planned to attend a 4 hour Thanksgiving service at our church on Sunday. Then later in the afternoon, we were planning to attend another Thanksgiving service for a newly married couple. All of those plans have now been cast aside.

Maybe it's not such a bad idea to tack 'God willing' on the end of my future plans. I just don't want to become fatalistic in my thinking. Maybe I can put it this way: I'll work as hard as I can in the work God has called me to do, and if plans change along the way, I'll ride out the adventure and see what God has in store.


Ivy said...

Please know you're in our prayers. Because of the blog, Proclaiming Softly and her link to yours, we were made aware of the situation.
I served overseas in the 80s in Palestine during the first Intifada. May God hold you close.

Dave Bickel said...

Mary Beth, you are so right. We plan and ahve such high hopes, and then it all changes because a tasl takes longer than we anticipated or a person comes into our lives we never imagined might come. I really appreicated your blogg so much calm seemingly! I also wept as 2001 came streaming back. May you know God's peace. I am so glad that Bay is back with you now. We wish we could also be with you to pray with you.