When God has Other Plans

Pauline   |   May 18, 2018 

When I think of relaxation, one of the things that pop into my mind is reading a murder mystery or suspense thriller. Once I start a book from this genre, I find it hard to put down. I love the unexpected twists and turns, the race against time to find the murderer, and the adrenaline rush as pieces start to fall into place and the suspects list narrows down. Everything else is a distraction. Food – home delivery maybe? Sleep – who needs it?

Yet, in life, I want the opposite. Though I don’t want a boring life, I definitely do not want twists and turns that make every subsequent plan come crashing down. I want stability, to know what is expected, and for it to all happen as expected.  Of course I’d love a large dose of excitement, including the unexpected – as long as it’s the type that would make life happier or smoother. I prefer that there be nothing uncomfortable or painful, and definitely nothing stressful. But this is far from reality, isn’t it? How often have you planned out the rest of your day, week, month, or even year (or maybe even your life), only to have some event occur, however small, that leaves your plans in a mess and you wondering, "But why?"

We’re currently in the middle of transition. We knew it wouldn’t be very easy with two super active little girls but we prepared ourselves for what came ahead. I am not a planner and cannot think beyond the next two steps. Thankfully, God is gracious and gave me a husband who loves to plan, organise, and think of the next ten steps. As much as we could, and with prayer of course, we planned out what the next 6-7 months would look like, as our transition period is very long and we will only be in our next assignment by August.

This would begin with me volunteering for three months at Herbertpur Christian Hospital with the Anugrah project after which Rohan, my husband, would pursue a course in Delhi for five weeks. We would then visit family and close friends and be off to our next destination. Our belongings were packed to go to different locations, dates of travel were planned, tickets were booked, and course fees paid and books bought. I jokingly told my husband that since he had plans ready for scenario A, B, C, and D, God just might bring X, Y, and Z.

We began our time in Herbertpur well and I spent each morning walking to work, my heart overflowing with gratitude to the Lord for all He did for us. He provided us a house that was way beyond our expectations, a great team for me to work with, several learning experiences both in rehabilitation as well as in sharing the good news of salvation through work. He provided a beautiful park and lots of kids for our children and a warm, loving, and helpful community that went out of its way to help us set up.

We saw the Lord’s hand in so many ways and it was a very beautiful few weeks. Rohan also began playing basketball and slowly warmed up to a few families. Our settling in period was going much smoother than expected and it looked like our time in Herbertpur would be one we would remember for all the warmth, friendships, love and laughter and mostly with gratitude to the Lord for every moment of it.

Three weeks in, Rohan had a fall while playing basketball. We went in for an orthopaedic consult and at that time it didn’t seem like anything too serious. The doctor prescribed three weeks of rest and said he may even be alright before that. So we went on as usual, with just a slight modification to our plans. We were waiting for the three weeks to be over. But when we went in for an MRI scan the following week, we were in for a shock. I remember the drive back so clearly, even as both of us sat in silence, staring at Rohan’s report – he had completely torn his ACL, a ligament in the knee that is required for stability.

Well, a complete ACL tear is not a big deal when compared to most of life’s problems and illnesses, but for us, it presented a huge problem because all our plans were laid out step-by-step with barely any room for change. We didn’t know how to respond to this. We had decisions to make – whether to go in for surgery, whether to continue with Rohan’s course, whether to even continue at Herbertpur. Gone was the overwhelming gratitude and in its place were all sorts of mixed emotions combined with the stress of having to manage this, work, and two little kids.

One question also lingered at the back of my mind – "But why Lord?" It wasn’t a complaint nor was I angry or disappointed. I just couldn’t understand what was happening. Why Lord, when we were just settling in and beginning to get to know the people here? Why Lord, when we were in a new community and so far from friends and family?  Why Lord, when both our insurances had just lapsed and we didn’t renew it because we were going into a new health insurance scheme? Rohan had plans to use football and teaching English as tools in the country we are headed to. An ACL reconstruction meant he wouldn’t be able to play for about nine months or even longer if rehabilitation took time; it also meant postponing his course. Why take them both away, Lord, when he wanted to use those for Your glory? It made no sense in any way. But the more I prayed about this, the more His peace flooded my heart. It compelled me to embrace the unknown that was before us, helped me surrender whatever lay ahead, and rejoice in knowing the Lord has His purposes and that His ways are higher than mine.

This past month has been difficult. I had to let go of unmet expectations and bitterness, and welcome forgiveness, healing, and grace. I had to learn to be thankful in all circumstances and lift my eyes to God who is my ever present help. And for every question I had, His response was "My grace is sufficient for you for My power will be made perfect in your weakness. So cast your care on Me for I care for you."

Yes, we were just settling in and getting to know the community and it’s true that we had to manage far from family and close friends. But this injury has strengthened our bonds with the people here. We were in a place of weakness and vulnerability and God’s community rallied around us and supported us in countless ways. We are grateful to be surrounded by healthcare professionals who are committed to serving God, who patiently answered all our questions, and made allowances for the two little ones running around and squealing in excitement.

We are so grateful for the number of times our friends here have gone out of the way to give us a ride to the hospital or anywhere else, for providing tea, food, and other things we needed in the hospital, and for helping out with our kids during check-ups. They’ve helped us get medicines, supported us through billing, and visited and prayed for us. Every time I walk to work, people on the road ask me how Rohan is doing. When we considered having the surgery closer to home, a lady we greatly love and admire asked us how they can support us so we would not feel the lack of family around. Though we missed having family around at this time, God showed us Kingdom love through this community – they loved us when we could offer nothing in return.

Family and friends from afar supported us in every way they could. They called, prayed, and cared for us. A cousin spent time with us just helping us through the first week. Before we even mentioned our worry about the cost of the surgery, people thought about it and poured in so much that we needed to say the Lord has given enough and we need no more for the surgery. We’re so grateful for every bit of this. And as God provided the money we needed, we were reminded once more that no matter how much we plan ahead with insurance policies or savings, the future is unsure. Yet, this truth remains – God’s love never changes and He is faithful. Our Father reminds us that we are more valuable than the sparrows He feeds each day and the lilies He clothes in their splendour. He cares for us, knows our needs, and provides for each one.

It has been more than a week since the surgery. Our hearts are filled with gratitude and awe as we are experiencing our Heavenly Father take care of us in the unknown and unexpected. We have a long road ahead of us in terms of recovery and transitioning, but the past month has given me the confidence to testify once more that His grace is and will always be sufficient. Therefore we will boast all the more in our weakness, so that the power of Christ may continue to dwell in us and shine through us for all to see.


Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

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Pauline lives with her husband and two adorable daughters and is a physiotherapist by profession. She loves dancing and being silly with her daughters when she is not stuffing her mouth with food. She loves music, board games and exploring street markets with her family.
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2 comments on “When God has Other Plans”

  1. I can so completely identify with the first two paragraphs...exactly like me! Thanks for sharing, and for the encouragement on facing the unknown and unexpected resting on His grace!

  2. Very encouraging and very well written about how the Lord's plans are different from ours but leads us to really trust Him to lead us through life.

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