September 3, 2008

The Beauty of Plan B

I have a friend who went through some rough times over the last year. It was one of those "valleys" where you feel like your heart is being drug through the desert by a sleepy turtle. It was long and dry and painful. Over the last few days she pulled out her journal and was reading through some of the things she thought and felt during that period. Some questions came out of that reflecting that she shot my way. One of them got me to thinking.

I think that Psalm 37:4 brings us quite a bit of confusion - David says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." I think the "spiritual" response or interpretation to this is usually something to the effect of "If your heart is in line with God's - pursuing Him - then you will WANT and long for the same things He has for you." In essence, if God IS your delight then everything He brings your way will satisfy you. Right?

Not that I disagree with that, but once again we're found bringing things back to what we WANT. My friend was wrestling with why, during that time of spiritual struggle when she was seeking God like no other time in her life, was there this deep heartache and agony. Why during the time when she was closer to God than ever was it accompanied by this free fall into a spiritual death valley of sorts? I think it's because of Plan A. Here's what I mean.

In almost every circumstance, situation, decision in our lives we have Plan A. We have this contrived and predetermined idea about how it all should unfold and pan out. And very often it just doesn't happen that way. Most likely because - going back to Psalm 37:4 - our Plan A has been intoxicated by our WANTS. Here's where Plan B comes in. I think God is in the never-ending business of leading us through Plan B. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's God who has Plan B - it's Plan A to Him! We come up with our Plan A because we either don't want to wait on Him to reveal Himself to us or (more painfully) we KNOW what it is He wants & desires for us...and we don't want it! So follow me: we say (and pray) we're waiting on God to reveal Plan A --> He either hasn't yet or He has and we don't like it so --> we come up with our own Plan A --> somewhere down the line God has to drag us into the desert and strip us of our self-centeredness and it's there that we discover, "O Holy Crap, I've done it again!" --> It is there we discover Plan B.

Take Elijah, hiding in a cave and God finally speaking to him. Or how about Moses, alone in the wilderness with sheep and God finally speaks to him. During these times you know that these men had to feel this miserable sense of isolation and loneliness, like there was no one else in the world who could possibly understand what they were going through. They had to feel like they had brought to the end of themselves in many ways - a feeling of "I have nowhere else to go...but to You, God." And there you have it. Think long and hard on this one.

Why is it that many of the times we find ourselves pursuing and seeking God like a drowning man for oxygen it comes with sorrow, suffering, pain and isolation? Because it is there that we come to the end of ourselves and realize that it is only God who can satisfy. And that is why Plan B seems to be where we spend most of our time and where God seems to use us most often. The end of myself.

So if you're currently walking through the "valley" or finding yourself wandering the spiritual wilderness like a lonely nomad...keep walking! Keep walking until your vision becomes so blurred that you finally lose sight of YOU. And patiently wait there. Plan B is coming.

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