What happens when things don’t go according to plan? What do I do when I don’t expect the unexpected? How do I respond when life gets interrupted? To some people, going with the flow is easy. For me, going with my flow is easy! I like things done on schedule, according to plan and according to my calendar. I plan my week, even with others’ plans in mind and find comfort in doing so. However, after years of unpredictability habitually creeping its way into my world, I’ve had to learn to adjust my sails. This boat called “my life” doesn’t always sail on calm waters. Instead the ride can be unsettling and turbulent, tossing not only my plans overboard, but also my lunch! As I sail, my skies present a myriad of different hues. There are beautiful sunrises and beginnings that can only be matched by sunsets so stunning one knows they can only be the creation of the “original artist” named God. The sun shines and warms as the moon lights and guides. The clouds shade and give me a chance to dream. I bask in the glorious concept of life as I know it or, dare I say, life as I want it.
Then, it happens…the thunder rolls, the lightening crashes, the clouds gather their fury and the storm rudely interrupts my tranquility. My serenity is replaced by panic as I breathlessly seek shelter. I look to the elements to inform me, my eyes on the tempestuous skies…not on the shelter that lies ahead. I’ve concluded this one thing, I am Peter (well, in a few ways). In Matthew 15, when Peter saw Jesus walking on the water, Jesus called for him to come. Peter had “a word” from Jesus and that’s all he needed. He got out of the boat but was then distracted by the winds and became afraid. Peter cried, “Lord save me!” Been there, done that, said that. Jesus instantly reached out and held Peter saying, “O, ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” In other words, Jesus was essentially telling him this: “When I told you to come I was planning on taking care of you until you reached me. When you took your eyes of faith off of me and became fearful, you began to sink. Regardless, I was there to hold you and save you.”
We may have our plans, but God always has one of His own. In every plan there is a purpose and one is the stark realization of what every experience can bring to our lives. Peter wouldn’t have known how good the arms of Jesus felt had he not begun to sink. I have this to say: at least he got out of the boat and tried. It reminds me of the words to one of my favorite Coldplay songs, Fix You – “You’ll never know if you never try, just what you’re worth.” We can’t learn to get up until first we know how it feels to fall down. We don’t know how it feels to be right until we’ve been wrong. It’s been said often, but we don’t appreciate the mountaintop until we’ve been in the valley. Peace doesn’t seem tangible until we’ve experienced unrest.
Life does get interrupted, and things don’t always go our way. But if we can adjust our sails, we won’t capsize. Jesus has called us to come to Him, and He will take care of us all the while. He knows the seas will be variable, and we’ll discover unchartered water. But if we have faith in His protective provision, we’ll find the shelter of His loving arms, where He’ll hold us and calm the winds that have led us off course. Peter got back in the boat, but this time Jesus got in with Him, and they went to the other side as Jesus had planned all along. His plan is always better and, even in sinking, we can learn there’s always something new on the horizon. The sun will shine again. Or should I say…the Son.