Have you ever had a change of plans? You know, you get one thing all scheduled, planned to the T. You know what time you need to leave and how fast you have to drive in order to arrive at your destination with four minutes to spare. Those four minutes will be eaten up by your walk to the building and you'll show up right on time.
But what about those times that you've had to throw those plans out the window? All the hard work put into preparation and something steps in the way and it's all for naught.
Recently, my Mother planned a 40 year anniversary trip to Maine for my Dad. As Dad puts it, "This was a labor of love." For anyone who knows my mom, she hates to travel. I mean hates it! She'd rather have lemon juice poured on paper cuts than travel more than 30 minutes in the car. So, this was a huge deal for her. She planned the whole thing herself; the B&B's, the stops along the way. It was her love for my Dad that spurred this trip. So, it must have been hard when unforeseen circumstances caused them to cancel the trip. So, she painstakingly called the B&Bs to cancel. Some refunded her money, some did not. But she did it because life got in the way and because she loves my Dad. They got to go eventually, but only after she rearranged her plans.
But how about those times when we choose to change our plans? We plan to do _____ and our kids want to do _____ (Fill in the blanks.) Sometimes we put our own plans aside because we want to see the joy on our children's faces. We want to show them how much we love them by giving them things that will make them happy. We want to show them that they are the most important thing in the world to us and do so by putting our own wants behind theirs.
This is how God is with us. He changes his plans for us!
Isaiah 38 tells the story of Hezekiah. "In those days, Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order because you are going to die; you will not recover." Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. "Remember O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: "Go and tell Hezekiah,'This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life."
It was the prayer of the faithful that caused God to change his plans. He had things all set. Hezekiah was supposed to die of his illness, but his prayers made God change his plans. Isn't that amazing. GOD CHANGED HIS PLANS!
Yesterday in Sunday school, we were discussing the miracles of Christ. My favorite is his first miracle at the wedding in Cana. You know the story. Jesus is hanging out with his buddies at a wedding. The bride and groom run out of wine, which was about the most disgraceful thing to have happen in that time period. So his mother comes over and says, "They don't have any more wine." He responds by saying, "Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come."
You see, it wasn't in his plans to turn the water to wine that day. But those of you who've read the story know how it ends. He does it. He performs a miracle. He changed his plans that day. Who knows, maybe his first miracle was supposed to be something huge like a group healing. Maybe it would have been accompanied by lightning bolts and earthquakes just to make sure everyone noticed. But whatever his plans were, (the Bible doesn't tell us when 'his time' really was.) he changed them for that couple.
Are you beginning to see? God loves us so much he changes his plans for us. So don't give up or give in. Don't resign yourself to the fact that nothing will ever make God change his mind. It doesn't matter if you think God has a certain plan and everything is set and unchangeable. God is the only unchangeable being in this universe. His love is unchanging. His grace is unending. However, with a little prayer, sometimes with a lot of prayer, his plans can change. Why? Because he loves you.
So what ideas have you given up on today? What have you stopped praying for because you still don't see the answer? Have you decided that you'll never have a baby because the doctors have told you so? Have you given up on that relationship because it seems too impossible to fix? Are you absolutely sure there is no more hope? God wants to be merciful to us. He wants to extend his grace to us. The real question is, are we willing to reach out and accept it?
I was once told that God answers prayers in three ways: "Yes", "No", and "Not right now." But I'm beginning to believe that there are now four answers: "Yes", "No", "Not right now" and, "Sure, just let me rearrange some things first."