When our plans go awry…


To say the least, this has been an unusual week, containing news that changed the daily routines for every one of us – and not just here in our country, but everywhere in the whole world.

Growing up, I would often hear an expression that would be uttered by a family member or friend as a response to a surprise turn of events.  That phrase was, “The best laid plans of mice and men…”  Usually, the rest of that thought was left unfinished, as if the balance of the thought was hanging in the air.  The implication was that the hearer would understand that the day had NOT gone as expected.  

That phrase was originally taken from a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1785.  Adapted and paraphrased into common language, the phrase went, “The best laid plans of mice and men…often go awry…” 

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Well, our week has indeed gone differently than we hoped.  We have experienced the cancelation of sporting events, a topsy-turvy stock market, and an unprecedented run on toilet paper – and these are but a few examples of our “best laid plans gone awry.”

We must remember that, in such turbulent times, we are not forgotten by the Lord.  In fact, the Bible teaches us that we should expect times of tribulation and trial.  But such times and troubles are not outside of His knowledge or His care.

I have always been affected by the biblical account of the plight of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue whose daughter was near death.  The book of Mark, chapter 5 contains this story, describing how Jairus met Jesus with the urgent plea for Him to come and heal his little girl.  Jesus agreed to accompany him, and they were on their way…when an interruption occurred.  A woman who had been hemorrhaging for years stopped the Lord, and for that moment, Jesus diverted His full attention to this unexpected need.  The Lord was gracious to heal her, but in those moments (that must have seemed to be an eternity to the waiting father), word came to them that the daughter of Jairus had just passed away.  Imagine the thoughts that would have come crashing in to Jairus’ mind – “If only we hadn’t stopped….if only we hadn’t been delayed…”  Those are the kinds of responses that come naturally to us when we feel ripped off by circumstances out of our control.

Yes, those responses are natural, and easy – what is harder to do is to remember in those moments that God is SOVEREIGN.  He is almighty.  And He is not like us. Jesus’ timetable was not thwarted by that interruption.  In fact, it set the stage for an even greater miracle.

As I freshly consider this story, I am convicted as to the source of my hope.  Is it in my arranging for the Healer to come, or is my hope in the actual Healer?  The first will always let me down.  The second never will.  He uses these interruptions for a purpose, to build and strengthen us in ways that we can’t even imagine.  He is good.  He is God.  He is much bigger than those plans of ours that have gone awry.  

Feature photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

About the Author

Mike Gilland is Operations Manager for The Shepherd Radio Network, a group of radio stations in Florida that features the “Christian Teach/Talk” format. Mike hosts a daily talk radio show in the 2 PM hour called “Afternoons with Mike”, talking to local pastors and newsmakers.  In Orlando, The Shepherd is heard on WIWA, AM 1270.   In addition to his broadcast experience, Mike spent 36 years in full-time ministry as a pastor and worship leader.  As a guitarist, Mike performs at concerts, restaurants, private parties, etc. He is married to Cindy, the father of four grown children and grandfather to seven grandchildren.

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