A week or so ago, 7-11 gave away free Slurpees to celebrate its birthday. I got this crazy idea that I would surprise the girls and take them after their swim lessons to get their very own Slurpee. I was positively giddy at the thought of surprising them this way. I had heard that the Slurpees were small, but they were free and they were Slurpees — they would love it.
Before we left the house, I told them to bring a pair of shoes and something to wear over their bathing suits after their lessons. One would have thought I had asked the older one to cut off her arms. How did one simple direction turn into something so difficult? She clearly wasn’t going to do what I told her to do, so I said, “Too bad, forget the surprise.” Things went downhill from there.
Of all the traits she received from me, why did the stubborn streak have to be so, uh, stubborn? She sat with me at the pool refusing to take her lesson. She really should have worn herself out in the pool. She explained that she didn’t listen to me because I had never told them to bring anything before and she didn’t knooooww I was planning something. Spectacular reasoning!
So, let me get this straight. You defiantly disobeyed me because I had never asked you to do this VERY SIMPLE thing before? I have, by the way. And you wouldn’t do what I said because YOU didn’t knooooww I had planned something for you? Again, I’m all a-tingle by the reasoning.
Don’t you think if I tell you to do something that I don’t normally it is possible there might be a purpose in it? aside from the fact that you should just do it anyway?And … But I know what I had planned for you. I know that I wanted to do this for you because I know you would have loved it. I don’t have to tell you what I have in mind—that would ruin the surprise. Lighten up kid, work with me, I mean you no harm.
And the lightbulb turned on. This again seems all too familiar.
See, my husband had been out of work since the beginning of April—a wee too long for my comfort and sanity. During his job search, he was turned down by a company, who then turned around and called to ask if he was going to show up for training. To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the job he would have with this company, but when they called and offered him a position, we said yes. It’s a job after all.
I hadn’t been arguing with God, at least not in my usual way. I was trying to be grateful, really I was. It’s just that this job wasn’t what I wanted for my husband. Though I had been praying earnestly for him to find a job that was good for him, I didn’t know what God’s plan was and this wasn’t what I had in mind. I tried to be grateful and see all the potential this path could provide for him, but wasn’t quite there yet. So the Lord stepped in to show me His heart.
The evening after the incident with my daughter, I was driving down the road going over the day’s events in my head. Suddenly it occurred to me that God was showing me how He wants to do good things for us, but we fight Him too much. We say to Him, “I didn’t know what You wanted to do.” And He says, “But I know. I know what I want to do for you and if you would just let Me do what I have planned, you are going to love it.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) I hear His voice in this verse so differently now. Can you hear His heart for you?
I have become grateful for this job and not just because it’s a job. My husband seems more at ease now than I’ve seen him in years. He’s learning something new and, so far, is enjoying it. I pray the trend continues. I also didn’t realize what a toll his former job had been taking on me. I feel peace when he leaves for work rather than apprehension wondering what the day might bring.
Thank the Lord for good surprises and moving us out of our expectations. I hope you get to see He has some wonderful surprises up His sleeve hand-picked just for you.