March 2, 2020

This past Saturday, I spoke at the South District United Methodist Women’s Spiritual Retreat. I found myself in a giant room filled with women. It was truly terrifying. Luckily, no one threw anything and I got out relatively unscathed.

Public speaking wears me out, especially if it’s to a big group of scary women, so my plan was to drive home, hop onto the tractor and enjoy the solitude of the day by shredding a pasture. Things didn’t go as planned.

Just as I pulled up to our front gate, my phone rang. It was Shannon. She was in Belton. She asked if I would drive to Belton to pick up the four oak trees she had just purchased. This was the last thing I wanted to do, but it’s already been established that I am afraid of women, so I did exactly what my wife asked. Then came the next surprise.

When I finally got there, it was time to load the trees in the back of my truck. I was expecting four. Instead, they wheeled out ten oak trees. That’s the moment I knew my day was completely shot and I would be planting trees till eternity.

Have you ever noticed that many of your plans don’t work out the way you expected? It happens all the time. Out of the blue you may find yourself wedging ten trees into the bed of your truck, and figuring out that you are not going to spend the rest of the day doing what you planned. Sadly, there are much worse surprises than that.

Plans are changed by cancer, strokes, aneurysms, variations in the stock market, pink slips, unfaithful spouses, children making self-destructive decisions, bad weather, hard drives crashing, thieves breaking into homes, unscrupulous contractors, bulls jumping fences, deer in the middle of the highway, reckless drivers, the Bernie Madoffs of the world, the coronavirus, the list goes on and on and on…..

To say that we are in control and all our plans will work out the way we intend is lunacy. Life does not work that way. That’s why we plan as best we can and leave the rest to God.

This is what King Solomon meant by saying: “Many plans are in a person’s mind, but the Lord’s purpose will succeed.” (Proverbs 19:21 CEB)

Plans matter but don’t get so fixated on the plan that you miss the big picture. It’s God’s plans that matter most. All we have to do is follow them.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me to always put my trust in your never-ending love and guidance. I humbly ask that you grant me wisdom, peace, and joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Today after work, I plan on planting trees. I hope my plans don’t work out.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins