Choose to trust: When life disrupts your plans
The call came as I was sitting in the hospital waiting room just moments prior to a medical procedure.
“I’m sorry.” The nurse apologetically stated. “The doctor you will be seeing later today has had a family emergency, your appointment will need to be canceled and set for a later date.”
A later date! Are you kidding me? I just drove 3 ½ hours for this appointment. Thankfully these words never left my mind.
In most cases this cancellation would have been a simple glitch in my ordinary day or monthly schedule; but this disruption to my schedule came after hours on the phone juggling for several appointments to coincide, in the effort to compensate for the long drive.
Before I was tempted to roll my eyes, I stopped. Taking a deep breath, I was glad I could answer politely; not saying out loud what my disappointed emotions were currently feeling.
In that cleansing breath I began the process of thinking that God knew about this upset before I did. As my mind began to consider this, I realized that this cancellation may be God’s intervention to place me with a doctor who was better suited for my complicated health needs.
As this redeeming thought entered my mind, I immediately began to recite Psalm 139:5. (NLT)
“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”
God goes before me. This means that God is not only in the difficulties of my past, dwelling presently with me in the here and now, but he also stands in my future. He gets there before I do.
This thought made me smile. I remembered back to the day I spent hours on the phone trying to sort out multiple doctor’s appointments. A light bulb went off in my head. This means that even as I was making those appointments, God knew. This disruption in my day did not catch God off-guard or unawares like it did me. I don’t know why God wouldn’t have chosen me to get the “right” doctor during those tedious hours of scheduling; but my thought is that He wanted to use this as a lesson to flesh out the truth of Psalm 139:5 to me.
Psalm 139 is my go-to Psalm. Verse 5 has become very personal to me and pops into my head frequently. I love the tender thought that God’s places his holy, divine, nail pierced hands on my head. How beautiful is that. There is something uniquely tender and inviting to have someone place their hands on your face or on the top of your head. God does this to me. He delights in me and in that moment, He says,
“Daughter of mine, I not only love you, but I like you. A lot! I like to be with you. I like when you run to me with excitement in seeing me move in your day. I like when you allow me to bring from the past what needs healed or when you devote time to abide with me in the present. I also like when you leave your future to me and allow me to run ahead and stand for you in the unknowns of the days to come.”
In that moment of disappointment I had to decide to trust God with this situation,
If God knows what is best for me, would I not want to trust Him with what is going on in my life? After all, I am hemmed in by God’s incredible love!
If God knows what is best for me, then He also has my best interest at heart. He is for me. He loves me with an everlasting love. He will accomplish what concerns me. He knows each plan laid out for me, plans for my good and not for evil. This is my God. He is the One I crave! I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that He prepared beforehand that I should walk them. And all the while I walk in them, I delight in Him and He delights in me.
Choose to trust: By rehearsing God’s truth
As I rehearsed these truths in my mind, I realized that God knew that I needed a doctor who could move forward with me in my health journey. I later found out that if I had started with this doctor, my next appointment would have been with another doctor as her emergency would take her away from her practice indefinitely. How good God is to go before us. Do I allow Him to stand in my future, or do I try and run ahead trying to take control and make happen what I think is best, all the while disregarding His pleading to rest, wait and rely on Him.
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your loving kindness, O LORD, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NASV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.” Psalm 139:5 (NLT)
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
Choose to trust: From a heart of gratitude
My heart felt grateful that I was able to acknowledge God right in the middle of my disappointment, and in this, I stopped to pray for the doctor who needed to rush away from her appointments to care for her mother. I am sure that she too was feeling the upset of her situation.
In that moment I was able to turn my eyes away from what I wanted and pray for a doctor whom I had never met.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)
What upsets have caused confusion or disappointment in our day? I encourage you to choose to trust God by depending on His wisdom to guide you. Remember that God is standing in your future. He is already there, and He will work on your behalf because He delights in you!
Choose to trust: By talking to God
Jesus, I want to trust you. To depend upon the promise that you know exactly what I need. I don’t know how my situation will turn out or why it has been disrupted this way; but I do know that you are standing in the gap for me. It is your desire to show me just how great your love is. May I wait upon you to lead me in a good, clear path and watch for you to work. Teach me God, to acknowledge you in the middle of the disappointing interruptions of life.
Thank you, God, that you know what is best for me. Help me to rest in your goodness, rely on your direction to discern a path that is suited for just what I need today. Keep my eyes alert, open and ready to see how you are working things out for my good.
Guard me from getting caught up in striving to sort this out my way, instead of looking in anticipation for what you want to do to show yourself faithful to me. Protect me from worrying about how things are going to turn out.
Instead of being filled with disappointment and worry, I want to entrust this situation to You, Lord.
Thank you, God, that you know the very best way I should go, and you will work all things together for my good. Praise you Jesus! In your faithful name. Amen.
Just moments from praying, the receptionist connected me with a different doctor and set up another appointment for me. In that moment I was grateful for God’s divine intervention.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
Later as I went to my new appointment, I was stunned to learn that God had divinely placed me with not only an amazing doctor, but also the chair of the medical department!
I am astounded at God’s goodness! Not only did He go before me and behind me with His hand of blessing resting upon my head; but He gave to me something so exceeding abundant beyond what I could have even hoped or asked for.
I can’t even imagine calling and telling the receptionist that I wanted an appointment with the chair of the medical department. They would have laughed at my presumption. I must smile and say, “Only God.” Only God can shower us with His unlimited kindness. Only God shows up at just the right time when we need His direction and divine intervention. Only God is present in my past, my present and all my tomorrows.
What about you. What setbacks have you faced recently? As you try to hurdle these obstacles on our own, or are you willing to see God in the middle of your problem?
May you stop and choose to trust God, when life disrupts your plans. Choose to trust by rehearsing truth. Choose to trust with a heart of gratitude. Choose to trust by talking to God. And in this trust may you recognize the truth that God faithfully goes before you because He loves you and always knows what is best. In this He sweetly shows His delight, by placing His hand tenderly upon your head.
When you face disruptions of your plans:
Retrace your steps and choose to trust God.
Recall to mind what is true about God.
Rehearse the truths of how God thinks about you.
Remind yourself that God delights in you!
Remember the promises of God are always true.
Cling to the truth that God is in your past, your present and He stands in your future.
God always works intentionally with a divine purpose and plan. He has a purpose for what you are going through. When things don’t seem like they are working out the way you want, it may be easier to doubt God’s goodness; but remember that God is always bigger than any problem we will ever face.
“For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN: DIFFERENT BY DESIGN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN