Surprises in the weather often send us to a change of plans. One June, our family drove up the east coast from Virginia to Maine. The further north we drove, the temperature dropped. When we stopped for dinner and saw a woman exiting the restaurant wearing a heavy winter jacket, we knew our next stop would be the mall.
We didn’t pack what we needed.
Changes in vacation plans are just one of life’s surprises. The company you worked at has closed, interrupting your desire for career longevity. Now you’re in a job search. Or a health crisis derailed your plans for a long-awaited family reunion. You sit home and visit relatives via social media posting. Or the dream of a happily ever after is torn apart by divorce papers.
When we meet these unplanned and unexpected stops in life, have we packed what we needed?
Do we try to desperately fix a situation or figure out Plan B? We hope the weather will change. We may wake up determined to do the best we can and layer clothing.
But have we considered the generosity of God when life meets a serious detour or roadblock?
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness…he has given us his very great and precious promises…”2 Peter 1: 3 (NIV)
- When you’re worn out and falling apart, He is your strength. ” So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)
- When you’re puzzled and stopped in a place that isn’t even on your map. He will never leave you. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
- When life doesn’t go as you planned. He knows, and He knows all about you. “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3 NIV)
- When you meet a roadblock and need to unexpectedly turn around. He has plans for you. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8 NIV)
- When you can’t read the map through teary eyes. He will give you peace. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
- When you feel alone. He will never stop loving you.. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1 ESV)
Had we looked at the weather forecast, we would have packed jackets and been prepared. We would have avoided expense, time shopping, and annoyance that found its way into conversation. I think Peter is telling us the same—be prepared by packing God’s promises and you’ll have what you need. God doesn’t offer empty words or a quick fix, so we’ll hope or dream. He doesn’t lead us to wishful thinking, but promises to provide for us in unexpected encounters:
Detours and disappointments are opportunities to see God’s promises are available and show us He is trustworthy to keep them. Besides that, when we wear what’s suitable for weather conditions, he says we’ll be effective and productive, not floundering from one store to the next. We’ll talk about that next time.
Meanwhile, what about you? Where have you seen God’s promises become real in a life detour or change?