Over the weekend, Pete and I made plans to meet my family in Asheville for a Christmas dinner and concert. The trip was several weeks in the making and was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my grandparents.
Just moments after we started the 2 1/2 hour drive to the mountains on Saturday, Mom called to let me know my grandparents might not make it; my grandmother didn’t feel well. And Dad, who was stuck fixing a problem for work, was iffy, too.
I sent a quick text to my prayer group of six, then tacked on a few others for good measure. I asked them to pray that everyone would be able to make it because I knew how much they would all enjoy it, and because my grandparents were the whole purpose for the trip. I didn’t see them at Thanksgiving and won’t see them at Christmas, so this was my chance to spend time with them around the holidays.
Within minutes, I got a bunch of messages back, confirming my friends’ heartfelt prayers. Between texts, I sent up a few silent prayers of my own and tried to stay confident that everything would work out as planned.
But it didn’t.
My grandparents apologetically backed out, and Dad couldn’t get away. Thankfully, my mom and sister made it, but I was still incredibly disappointed. With my grandmother’s declining health, I’m not sure we’ll be able to plan another trip like that, and I was mad that this thing I had been excited about for weeks was falling apart moment by moment.
We attempted to find a few people to go in their places (we already had the tickets), but because it was so last minute, that didn’t work, either. And as great as the dinner and concert ended up being, it was also bittersweet; I kept thinking how much the three people missing would have loved it.
As I sat in the passenger’s seat on the way to Asheville that afternoon, ticked that things weren’t working out, I tried to remind myself that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand it. And sometimes God’s will is super frustrating.
Don’t you want my family to get away for a night and experience this uplifting music, this great food and awesome atmosphere? I asked God.
In other words, What the heck?
One verse came to mind, Isaiah 55:8:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
Ugh. Sometimes I love that one; sometimes I hate it.
Because Pete is pretty much the most thoughtful person in the world, he suggested we go visit my grandparents the next day. At that point I didn’t want to, for a few reasons, but we ended up going and I’m glad we did. We visited for a few hours, even got to see the rest of my family (including my dad) and had a great afternoon. It wasn’t exactly the weekend I had in mind, but it was spent with family, so that was worth it.
Sometimes our plans don’t work out. Or, as the saying goes, “the best laid plans … often go awry.” Why? Who knows? For people like me who like things to go our way, though, it’s a good reminder to be flexible and trust that God sees the big picture.
What are some plans you made that didn’t quite pan out? What was the outcome?