I think I’ve got a silly notion in my head that if an all-powerful God has a sovereign Plan, then His Plan should be accomplished the way a missile takes a straight and steady path toward its target. I mean, when the great God who created all things sets His will to do something, how can any created being — human or otherwise — hinder Him? It’d be like flies trying to push a missile aside.
And this idea in my head tends to leave me resentful of the turmoil in my life that leads to sharp turns and blind corners. I guess I figure that if I’m following God closely enough, I’ll be a part of His Plan, and the path of my life will be reasonably straight. But so often, life feels more like a crooked line, as though someone’s messing with God’s plans for my life.
Then I read about the story of Jesus’ birth — the most important of God’s plans — and I see a very crooked line — with loads of turmoil!
A pregnancy before marriage (Luke 1:31-35).
A marriage about to be called off (Matthew 1:19).
A marriage plan restored, but amidst the public disapproval of a pregnancy before marriage (Matt. 1:24).
Then an unwelcome donkey ride in the last days of the pregnancy (Luke 2:1-6).
Then a dirty stable is all God reserves for the baby’s birth (Luke 2:7)
And though wise men coming from afar speak to King Herod in their search for Jesus, they’re then warned to avoid King Herod as they leave due to the danger he poses to Jesus (Matt. 2:12).
Then Mary, Joseph and Jesus flee for their lives to avoid King Herod’s sinister plot (Matt. 2 13).
King Herod then kills all the male babies of Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16).
And finally, though all seemed well to return from Egypt, Joseph & Mary are afraid to dwell in Judea, so they must return to Nazareth to live among the people who knew Jesus was conceived before marriage.
Turmoil. Discomfort. Fear. Changes. Disruption. Crooked lines.
So why shouldn’t I face the same? I suspect that one of the reasons for this is that God doesn’t simply want to accomplish plans through me, but He wants to accomplish plans in me as well. Crooked lines work much better at that than straight lines. Crooked lines teach me to listen, to trust, to obey and to persevere. And our sovereign God is still able to accomplish His great Plans through our lives as we follow Him around every corner we face in life!