How the Gospel Speaks to Our Disappointments

I appreciate the convenience technology affords us, especially in these times of social distancing, but there are some things I refuse to let go of. I’ll take a printed book instead of an e-version any day, still subscribe to the local newspaper, and prefer a pretty paper calendar over one connected to my email. In fact, I have some traditions associated with the latter. I start each year by writing birthdays and anniversaries on the pristine pages. These milestones are recorded in ink. All other entries are penciled in as they come up— adventures to look forward to, savor, and then look back on as well as more mundane commitments like getting my teeth cleaned. I suppose my habit of writing changeable events in pencil began shortly after my career did.  (I didn’t have a computer, much less an iPhone in 1980!) I soon discovered there are many moving pieces to corporate life and that meetings were apt to change as were travel plans, so pencil it was. Forty years later, I’m still penciling in items subject to change. Cancellations Here, There, and Everywhere I never would have imagined all the times I’d reach for my trusty Pink Pearl eraser this year. One by one, activities came off my calendar —  appointments of various kinds, lunches with friends,  5k races, garden tours, even Grammie days[1] — disappearing into so much eraser stubble. The avalanche of cancellations gradually turned into a trickle, sparking tentative hope the few remaining events, further in the future, could be salvaged. Alas, the cancellations continued. A calendar entry marking a much-anticipated family reunion in South Dakota became the latest to succumb to my eraser, another casualty of unknowns surrounding the trajectory of COVID-19...

How the Gospel Speaks to Our Disappointments2022-05-05T00:35:14+00:00

Living the Bigger, Better Story God Plans for Us

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 In the new year of 2017, I recorded some big plans in my journal: Create a prayer planner to help people grow in healthy prayer habits. Walk alongside our daughter as she planned her wedding; attend our son’s college graduation. Continue teaching Bible study at the jail. My Plans vs. God’s Plans As a gospel coach and a Type A personality, I enjoy making plans. Every new year, I set aside time to revisit the stories of the “awesome deeds” (Psalm 145:6) God has done in the previous year and to pray and think about what stories he might write in the coming year. I don’t make resolutions, which I know I will break; I make plans, which I hold loosely. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with such a practice, I have begun to wonder if my plans, like the desires C.S. Lewis wrote about long ago, might be too “shallow” and too “weak.” Given that we serve a God who is forever doing “brand new things,” I wonder if I am happy “making mudpies in a slum” when what God has planned for me is a “holiday by the sea.” [1] In 2017, the year I recorded those plans in my journal, it seemed the Lord had different plans. While our son did graduate from college, and our daughter did get married, and I did continue teaching at the jail, the Lord also wrote a bigger, better story in my life. In August of 2017, when our twenty-two-year-old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor and proceeded to have four brain surgeries over the next nine months, I became more intimately acquainted with the God who was determined to do an astonishing “new thing,” to “make a way in the wilderness..."

Living the Bigger, Better Story God Plans for Us2022-05-07T22:45:33+00:00
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