He is always up to something good even when I can’t see it. Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Part of my day went according to plan. I left the house and had meetings with lovely people, just like I planned. CHECK! But my day unfolded in ways I never knew it would. NOT according to the plan. What’s going on here, God? Wanna show me what you’re up to? When this “off script” stuff happens, I have to ask, “Whose plan did I think would be carried out anyway?” When I don’t understand what’s going on or when I can’t see God’s hand, does it mean He isn’t working? No!
It makes me think of watching a play in the theater! Something about seeing a play live delights my heart. Every aspect I find exciting. I like to get dressed up, drive with my hubby to the theater, locate my seat, hold the playbill, read each actor’s bio and dedication. I intently listen to the music and the way each line is delivered by the actors, all of it is great fun.
I’m amazed at the clever ways lights create mood and sets are designed. I enjoy as I watch the stage crew change the sets between scenes, the stage hands, dressed in black, appear as they carry out an end table, the other a lamp and plant to set on the table. Then, right before my eyes, they both carefully lift and remove a small couch and turn the space into a peaceful bedroom.
Long ago, this was not the method of changing sets. Instead, at the end of the act the curtain closed which blocked the view of the stage from the audience. The orchestra played music during the set changes which made it difficult to hear any movement from behind the curtain, but I sat and enjoyed the orchestral music. Once the proper set changes occurred, the music faded, the curtain opened and voilà! Dramatic set changes were revealed, complete with elaborate backdrops as actors delivered their opening lines.
Which method of set transformation do I like better? Do I prefer it when I’m able to see the set change right before my eyes? Or do I like it when the theatre goes black, time lapses and finally the curtains are drawn back revealing the transformation? I’m not sure. When I think about movement, the drama and progress of my own life’s story isn’t what I planned. The encounters, learnings, twist and turns, even the trials that happen make me want to peek behind the curtain to see what’s going on. That’s where the trust comes in.
I guess I don’t like being in the dark. When I wonder what God is doing, the control freak part of me kicks in. There’s this “perceived sense of comfort” which comes from knowing what is going on and what God’s up to. I’d like to peek behind the curtain at what’s happening during each day or season of my life. But I’m learning every day is ordained for me and what God has planned for me is good, so I’m learning to trust because he is working even when I don’t see it.
It’s at those times when God seems to close the curtain and we can’t see, it requires trust that he’s always working. I was reading from the book of John with a mentee one day. She read aloud chapter 5: verse 17 But Jesus answered them, “My father is working until now, and I am working.” That line of scripture jumped off the page and my spirit responded. I realized a fresh God was telling me specifically, it doesn’t matter what you see or don’t see Rachel, I’m always working!
Yes, there are times when I worry, fret, get concerned or wonder about what He’s up to. When I question His timing and his plans, or even become frustrated in the waiting, I think about His character and the closed curtain in a theatrical production and all the movement behind before the big reveal. During a time when uncertainty creeps in, I do what King David did he said he strengthened himself in the Lord. So, I rehearse what I know is true and I rest on his promises, I even preach to myself. Whenever I’m tempted to fret I have to think about the nature and character of God:
- He is gracious
- He is for me not against me.
- He is good.
- He loves me with an everlasting and an unending love.
- God does not change.
- He cannot lie.
These things are true for you too. Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he will rise to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18 Remember, He’s always working. Perhaps you don’t see Him at work in your current situation. I’d like to encourage you with this thought, I believe He’s working both behind the curtain and right in front of you. He combats any discouragement from uncertainty, when we come to him.
His compassion and encouragement may manifest in the simplest things:
- He allows you to meet a friend
- you receive a call from your sister
- you laugh along with the cousin about a joke
- He allows you to be affected by a song lyric
- He meets you in times when you opened His word, the Bible.
- You let the rain fall on your face.
- The sound of a child’s giggle
Yes, in myriad of ways he speaks. His care and character will combat when any uncertainty creeps in, if we come to Him. So when things don’t go “according to plan” remember God is not: shocked, scratching His head, surprised, or frustrated. No, he is working on our behalf and he rises to show us compassion.