Man plans and God… What?
Everything happens on the Almighty’s schedule, not mine.
Man plans and God…well I don’t know if He’s actually laughing but He’s certainly doing something; perhaps demonstrating Who is really in charge.
After three months of literally going nowhere, we were just starting to venture out. We were even beginning to imagine a trip to the east coast to see the children and grandchildren we have missed during this time. It may still happen (I’m praying) but when California was added today to the list of states whose citizens are prohibited from visiting New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, the prospects definitely became dimmer.
And I was reminded of an idea that I know to be true but sometimes forget: Everything happens on the Almighty’s schedule, not mine. Whether it’s marriage and children, their marriages and their children, jobs – and now the ending of this pandemic and the re-opening of the country, nay the world, it’s all going to happen whenever the Almighty decrees it should – and not a moment before or a moment after.
Young children can’t wait to be older but that doesn’t speed up the aging process, thank God. We all know there is a reason that the proverbial watched pot never boils. It reminds us of this same lesson. And it seems we need to learn it over and over again. We can rail against it. We can lash out in frustration. We can “rage, rage against the dying light” as Dylan Thomas advocated, but none of these actions will change reality. None of them will make any difference to the facts on the ground, although they may have an adverse effect on our character.
It's tempting to think that there must be something we can do. It’s tempting to believe in the imminence of a vaccine. But there’s an important distinction between desire and hope and what we’d like to see happen. Of course, a vaccine would be nice. What am I saying? It would be amazing. But it too will come (or not, God forbid) according to the Almighty’s timetable – no matter how many scientists are working on it and how much money is being thrown at it.
I definitely believe that all major “natural” disasters and all new diseases come to reinforce one important lesson – we are not in charge or, to put it more succinctly, God runs the world. Perhaps we forgot for a minute. Perhaps we got carried away with the power of our own intelligence. Perhaps we began to believe in our own actions. Perhaps we forgot to give credit where credit is due. I don’t know. I just know that we need to recognize God as the Ultimate Planner, the One Who is in charge and running this show.
Among my favorite Dr. Seuss books are “If I Ran the Zoo” and “If I Ran the Circus”. Not only did they give his imagination free reign to create ever newer and wackier animals with corresponding silly names but they also allowed all of us to imagine being in charge, to think how things would be different, to ponder alternate choices, even alternate realities.
We all tend to think that if we ran the world, we would do it differently, read: better. I’m not sure we would populate with the type of creatures Dr. Seuss chose but I’m sure we all imagine a kinder, gentler reality; we all have a fantasy.
One of the challenges in situations like this is not just recognizing our lack of control but understanding that this particular situation is actually good for us, that the way the Almighty is running the world is the best way to do so.
Sometimes (all too often) we forget this. So sometimes the Almighty has to remind us. It’s truly impossible to plan right now. We just have to give ourselves over to the reality of the moment, to let ourselves relax in the Almighty’s arms and bask in His embrace.
I still hope to go east to visit my kids soon, but I know that it will happen whenever God wants it to happen, whenever it is good for me, my family – and the world. And not a minute before. I might as well be calm and relax and let go…(Seriously? Who am I kidding?!)