Wednesday night I was ready to go. I was in the zone for my usual Wednesday activities as Youth Pastor at The Hill. My lesson was memorized. Everything was in place for our game. The slides were set for the keynote. I was all prepared for kids to start showing up around 3:30.
And then the kids showed up with this:
A stray dog. “Oh no,” I thought, “Not today.”
What are your plans for today? You might have a major presentation lined up for work. You might have a big date tonight. You might just be planning to sit on the couch and catch up on the pile of DVDs sitting by your television.
Whatever your plan for today, odds are that it won’t go off without a hitch. Something unexpected will interrupt your plans.
Maybe it will be a huge, life-altering event. Maybe it will just be a flat tire on your way to work. Maybe it will be a stray dog. Whatever the interruption is, you have a choice in how you let the distractions of the day affect you.
The kids at church were caught up with the dog all night. Of course, they all came up with a reason why they couldn’t bring the dog home.
“Someone has to take care of her,” they begged. Finally at the end of the night the pitbull puppy ended up in the car with me.
I knew this would happen. I knew the second I saw that dog she would be coming home with me.
“I can’t afford this,” I kept telling myself. “I have too much going on tonight. Not tonight.”
I began to wonder, as I often do when my schedule gets corrupted, why God always seems to mess with my plans.
There are two ways to respond when a plan goes off course.:
1) You can let the interruption fluster and frustrate you, like I did. How often do we say we have something more important to do and somewhere more important to be, as if God’s work can be done only on our own terms?
With the touch of a button or the swipe of a finger, a phone call is easily ignored. With one press of the gas pedal we drive past those needing help on the street.
“Not today,” we say to ourselves – all because these phone calls and stray dogs don’t fit into our plans.
2) You can embrace the interruption as divine intervention. Even when I’m doing work for God on a Wednesday night He always seems to let distractions interrupt what I have planned. Why?
Because he’s giving me the one thing I always ask for.
My most common prayer is for God to reveal his plans to me – for God to “ just show me the way” as to how I should spend my time. Maybe when my plans get interrupted, God is doing just that – showing me the way.
We shouldn’t be so surprised when we ask God to show us his plan and we get a response. Does Jesus not tell us that, much more than a loving parent, God will give to his children what they ask of him?
The puppy is still sitting at my house this morning. We’re still not sure where she came from or who she belongs to or if anyone is out looking for her.
I’m still not sure why God decided to rewrite my Wednesday night and the past few days of my life with a dog who’s not trained and who whines and whimpers through the night.
The only thing I’m sure of is this interruption of my plans is not an accident. All I can do is try to embrace the reality of the situation as the gift it is even if it’s not the gift I expected.
Be careful when you ask God to show you his plans. He might give you exactly what you wanted.
When has God interrupted your plans recently? How did you respond?
UPDATE: A week after living with the dog, I decided I would not be able to properly take care of her. Kate and I found a friend who was willing to adopt the sweet pit bull. Today Reagan is living happily with her new owner who ended up being a perfect fit.