Shattered Dreams and Messed-Up Plans

You know, the Bible is full of what looked like shattered dreams and messed-up plans. 

I’m quite sure that when Moses’ mother gave birth to a perfect baby boy she had carried for nine months, she never envisioned that she’d soon be placing that tiny infant in a basket and floating him downstream to try to save his life.  Who puts a three-month-old infant in a basket and sends it down a river?  I imagine the life she thought she’d be giving Moses flashed before her eyes.  Toddler all the way to a strong Jewish man, a son who would lead a quiet, traditional family of his own and take care of her one day.  Little did she know all that lie ahead of her boy on that hushed morning by the river when she surrendered those dreams.  God was growing a deliverer who tens of thousands would follow (into the wilderness no less).  She had no idea.  

God’s plans were bigger than hers.

And Joseph in the bottom of a well?   All in one day, he goes from his father’s favorite, set apart and proudly wearing a coat that proved it, to frantically screaming for his life at the bottom of a dirty, slippery well.  He’s rescued, but by slave traders who would take him far away from all he had known, all he had worked and hoped for.  Talk about a change in plans!  But God used this craziness to turn seventeen-year-old Joseph into a man and ironically, the leader he had always wanted to be (although new and improved and more humble).  From the bottom of that well, Joseph could’ve never pictured a crown on his head.  

But God’s plans were bigger than his.

And what about Mary, sweet, young Mary, so happy to be engaged and planning a wedding when a visit from an angel brought news that would have her trashing that family celebration, nine months pregnant (riding a donkey!) into a town where she knew no one and had to give birth on the floor of a barn.  Not at all like she’d pictured it.  Her baby shower attendees were rich foreigners who didn’t even speak her language and filthy sheepherders who surely didn’t know the first thing about babies!  How confusing and scary. God had to keep reminding everyone not to be afraid.  

And that night, God’s plans were bigger than Mary’s. 

That night her Son became flesh and blood to save the world.

Right now, life does not look like we thought it would.  We had plans!!  We’re letting go of traditional high school graduations, postponing weddings, folding businesses, standing in unemployment lines, staying six feet away from each other and WHAT IN THE WORLD?

The thing is that God thinks outside the box.  His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).  And oftentimes our not being able to make sense of things is the telltale sign that God is up to something big. 

So we grieve and cry over what we wanted it to look like, and that’s okay.  God gets it.  Those emotions are raw and real and expected.  But let’s not forget that the Bible is full of what looked to man like shattered dreams and messed-up plans.  And often, that’s when our Father was doing His most creative, profound work.

Dear disappointed friend, here’s a thought.  What if His plans are bigger than yours?