Monday, August 26, 2013

Monkey Wrenches

                If you would have told me a year ago that I would be where I am at currently in my walk with Christ, I would have most likely laughed at you. A year ago, I was attending a different church, fellowshipping in a different women’s ministry and leading the Children’s Ministry. I was perfectly content where I was at, and my plans and goals were all focused on that and only that. But, life happens, things happen, events take place that sometimes knock us down and turn us upside down. Sometimes, God comes in and decides to disrupt our lives.

                At first, this disruption that the Lord brought into my life caused me to question many things about my walk, my faith, my ideas and my goals. It caused me to feel a pang of bitterness, it caused me to become angry at the events that took place, and it made me want to prove myself and my position even more. There was nothing wrong with the plans that I was making, they just weren’t the plans the Lord God had prepared for me. Instead of getting upset at the disruption the Lord caused in my life, I now see the bigger picture and I see the need for the interruption He brought. Now, I thank Him and praise Him for the upset He caused in my perfectly planned path.
                “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
                I didn’t always see what the Lord was doing, but I trusted that His way was best and that no matter what happened He would make all things work together for my good. (Romans 8:28) I had made plans; I had devised a way in which I was going to go. I set out to do things based on what I thought needed to be done, based on what I thought the Lord God wanted me to do. However, I forgot one very important aspect to my plans. The Lord directs my steps.
                I was determined to do things the way that I had planned. But the Lord, my Jehovah God, the Existing One, said, “No, I have arranged a different course of life for you.” Pastor Chuck Smith writes, “How many times our plans have been changed by the Lord. We’re deciding we’re going to do something, and God throws the monkey wrench in and stops us.” (Blue Letter Bible, C2000 Commentary) That is exactly what God did to me. I had made plans; I had laid out my path before me and started to walk along the paving stones I had laid. But God came along and tripped me up and said, “Child, I have something different for you, I have something better for you.”

                When the Lord throws a monkey wrench into our plans, it is easy for us to get upset and find ourselves flat on our face before Him. And that is exactly where we need to be. Nine times out of ten if God has thrown a monkey wrench in your plans it is because He never planned on you taking that path in the first place. “So we devise something in our heart, but God directs our steps. And I want it that way. I don’t want to do my own will. I don’t want to fulfill my own purposes. I want God to stop me whenever I am getting out of line and doing something that isn’t from Him and directed by Him. I want the Lord to interrupt me. I want God to disturb me. I want God to direct my steps.” (Pastor Chuck Smith, Blue Letter Bible, C2000 Commentary)
                God has a plan and purpose for our lives. It may not be your plan, but His plans are always for our benefit and His glory. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. God does not trip us up to hurt us or to cause us confusion, He trips us up because we are not going in the way that He wants us to go. We get so upset when God throws the monkey wrench into our paths and we start to ask “Why” or “How come”. But no matter how the events take place, God will always use them to work for your good and His glory. (Romans 8:28)
              
  Matthew Henry states, “God has a plan for His creation which He will certainly accomplish. It is carried out through the control of circumstances and His choice and use of people…” (Commentary on the whole Bible, BibleGateway.com) There are things that are going to happen, whether they are events that take place, circumstances that come up that change your direction, or even people that God uses to make you take a different turn in your life. No matter the case, God is in control. Proverbs 16:9 uses the pronoun “Lord” which is translated “Jehovah” which means the “Existing One”. God is always in control of everything that happens in your life. He is not taken off guard by the events that take place because He has prepared them to keep you on the path He has planned for you.
                I didn’t always see it this way. I struggled for a few months and even started to become angry towards the person God used to change my direction. But today, as I look back on the events and the circumstances that took place, I see the big picture. There are certain things that would not have happened had I stayed on the path I was on. I would not have been sitting here with a book waiting to be published, I would not have a soon to be daughter-in-law who is now a believer, (yes, my son is engaged!). I would not have the relationship that I have with my husband. These are just a few of the blessings that have resulted because the Lord God changed my direction. I did not want to see the bigger picture because I was flat on my face, crying out to God for throwing a monkey wrench in my plans.
             
   But today, I can thank Him, I can praise Him, I can testify of His glory and grace in my life and the life of those around me who have been blessed by the monkey wrench. We do not know what tomorrow will bring; we do not even have a guarantee of what the next twenty minutes will bring. But one thing we do know and can have confidence in is that our Jehovah God, the Existing One is in complete control and all that is on His mind is your good and His glory. He will never leave us, He will never forsake us, but sometimes He must toss the monkey wrench and sometimes we must trip.
                James tells us that we should not be hasty to make plans. Because we do not know what will happen tomorrow. He asks us what is our life; it is a vapor, here today gone tomorrow. So when we make plans, and we begin to plot our course of life out before us, we should say along with our plans, “If the Lord wills, we shall do this or that.” (James 4:14-15) If the Lord wills for me to continue on this path that I am on, attending a new church, serving as a humble servant and not in leadership anymore, or just sitting before my bible writing this blog then that is what I want to do. I want God to disrupt my life when I am walking down a path I should not go. I want Him to throw the monkey wrench into any plans that I have that are not His plans for me. I want God to direct my steps.

                There are no guarantees in this life, my sisters. But one thing is sure, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 1:6) May you see the monkey wrenches He has tossed into your life and give glory to Him for them. May we open our eyes and our hearts and seek to please Him in all that we do. May we make plans according to His will and may we thank Him for directing our steps. To Him be the glory forever and ever, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen and Amen.