When God Interrupts Your Plans

By: Tiffanie Butts

Last week, during my morning commute, I was listening to the one of my favorite radio stations. A woman (let’s call her Jane) called in to share about an experience she recently had.

She began by stating how she woke up late for work and was rushing to get ready. Already 20 minutes late, she was driving down the highway and saw a man on the side of the road. She felt led to pull over, so she did. The man asked to use her phone so he could make a call. Jane hesitantly gave him her cell phone and he proceeded to call 911. As she continued to listen she realized he was calling to report a suicide…his own.

She sat there in disbelief as he communicated with the operator. After he hung up, she sat and prayed with him until an ambulance came. Long story short – he did not commit suicide that day.

This story struck me in a powerful way. Jane being late for work allowed her path to cross with a man who needed to hear about God’s grace and forgiveness.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the life we’ve been given that we forget to tune into the One who gave it to us. We’re so busy, so distracted, that we don’t realize when God is trying to re-direct our attention.

We must be willing to let God interrupt our schedules and change our plans as he sees fit.

It’s easy to get bent out of shape when things don’t go as planned (I’ll be the first to admit that I do at times). But maybe, just maybe things are going according to plan – just not our plan. I have had an experience where I only told someone that you beautiful, you don’t need to worry, God is under control. She changed her broken face to a shining face. Even just a smile to someone can help that person change his/her from committing suicide.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. – Proverbs 19:21

What if, instead of being so focused on ourselves, and militant about our schedules and to-do lists, we surrendered our time to God? What if we asked him to help us be more aware of opportunities to share the truth and show the love of Christ? What if we prioritized obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit regardless of our own preferences and insecurities?

Jane’s alarm didn’t go off that morning for a divine reason – God wanted to use her to save a life. And you know what? He wants to use us in the same way.

Everyday God gifts each of us with opportunities to share His love, grace, and truth with those we come in contact with – but do you notice it? Many times we are too focused on our inconvenience rather than His purpose.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” – John 10:2

Let us be a people who don’t merely hear, but do (James 1:22-25). Who follow Christ’s example, laying down our own preferences for the will of our Father in Heaven so that we may show others the love, grace, and truth found only in Jesus Christ.

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An Obstacle Is Born

We can all talk about plans and what we want to do but we can all also talk about obstacles that may prevent us from doing what we wish to do. These obstacles can be of many flavours some coming at us out of the blue, and some driving toward us with a huge head of steam. But, are these obstacles insurmountable?

A Plan
Several years ago, we had a plan; it was a plan to move out of the city and buy a country property. The next part of the plan was to live without debt using my small pension as our source of income.

The First Obstacle
The first obstacle came after we decided to finally make the move and that obstacle was finding a suitable country property that we could afford. We started to look through the real estate listings online and thought we had found a really good candidate. Because I was busy at the time, Catherine was the one who flew to our
potential new property to have a first hand look. Fully expecting a positive outcome, we had started to make the final arrangements to leave our jobs and start to pack. But, it wasn’t to be. The phone call I received after her property review told the story in very clear terms – the property was totally unsuitable for a whole bunch of reasons.

Now What
What had started out as a new adventure that was supposed to go quickly in finding a property now became an obstacle. So, what did we do? Give up? Decide to stay where we were?

A Set Back
While this was not the end of the world, it was a set back to the timing of our plans. So, instead of forgetting about a country property we decided to keep looking and alter our time line instead. To make a long story short, it took us two years of weekly visits to the real estate listings before we finally found three properties that might be suitable.

The Next Step
The next step seemed obvious; we had to take some time off work and drive down to see these properties. So, off we went for our little drive and after 15 hours of steady driving, we arrived. The next three days were intense – looking, then looking again and then finally making an offer. The final story has a happy ending – we found our property, and moved several months later.

There Is A Solution
Sometimes, challenges rear up out of nowhere to dash the best of plans, and some of these obstacles can be the final play. But, if you adopt the philosophy that every obstacle has a solution, then you can find your way through. And, just to be clear, it doesn’t mean that solutions will be easy and it may mean that you will have to alter your game plan somewhat whether that is a time line, or a direction that you prefer. Sometimes, to accomplish what you want, you will need to be prepared to take the long way around because the preferred short cut is totally blocked.

The Secret
The secret to getting what you want is to stick to it like a dog after a bone – you have to demonstrate
perseverance despite feelings that say it is much easier to give up. Obstacles and challenges will arise no matter who you are or what you are trying to accomplish but it is only those who know there is a solution and keep digging until they find it that will conquer the day.