I was given the humbling opportunity to serve by playing for this morning’s church services. It struck me as I listened to the first reading (twice) that I needed to record my reaction to the account of Abraham taking Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him. How often have I inwardly protested when God makes apparent that His will for me and any one of my children at a certain point in time is going to be unlike as I’d planned and inevitably less convenient? Looking back at the past few weeks, I have had to rearrange my schedule numerous times due to family members getting sick. I must admit that there were definitely moments after realizing that someone was again sick when I was annoyed or bewildered by God’s plan for me that day. In regard to last week in which I had planned to spend a great amount of my time at church preparing to play for Wednesday and today…each time I had to skip those rehearsals (which was probably 5 out of 7 times) and stay home with sick people there was a level of confusion. “Why doesn’t He want me to be prepared for the services?” I asked myself in frustration once or twice. My focus was askew.
To think that God told Abraham to murder his ONLY child–the child he had waited so long for–and that Abraham would comply might be mind-boggling, but instead my response is shame. When God simply sends a temporary virus my way and asks me to nurse my child through it for a day or two, I rebel. God just wanted Abraham to show that, without a doubt, he feared God and loved Him above all else. When my response to His “changing” my plans is that of annoyance or panic, I clearly am loving my plans more than I’m loving Him.
Friday morning I had planned to take my little one to the YMCA for 3 hours of “Mom’s Morning Out”. I was looking forward to using that time to clean the house since I was hosting a gathering in the afternoon as well as to practice organ. When my little guy woke up still feeling “off” enough to need to stay home, I hit my lowest point. I was fed up! After falling apart for half an hour, the peace that passes all understanding washed over me. I didn’t need to see what God had in store for me and how he was going to work everything out for my good. I just trusted that he would. Thank you for giving me that peace and trust, Lord!
As the day progressed, things started getting accomplished and falling into place–despite that they were not in the “place” I had thought they’d be (or where we’d be). Filled with sorrow over my self-righteous outlook on my plans for the day, I was even more filled with peace and gratitude knowing that it was all beyond me. It wasn’t up to me to plan out the day. It was up to me to look to God to guide me through His plans for my life. Look at Abraham and how God provides for us (we are reminded of that by the ram). Look at how gracious he is despite how inept we are! It is a marvel.
There is nothing wrong in me wanting to be well-prepared for church services. I would never want to get up there and be so unprepared that my mistakes distract people from the messages they are singing and hearing. Time and time again God has shown me how his power and grace cover over every speck of space in which I am lacking (and believe me, we’re talking about billions of specks and a bunch of black holes, too). When people come up and comment on something they enjoyed about my playing, I could just fall on my knees in wonder. Lord, you bless me more than I am even able to fathom. You work everything out for my eternal good. You grant me gifts in my earthly life, as well–my dear family being a great one. Thank you for forgiving me when I fight against your good plans for us. Thank you for teaching me to look to you. Please help me to continually do so.