Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Don't Have a Plan For This

Women of the Bible. I'm writing a book in which every character has a Biblical name (except three and they're virtues)...so let me tell you, there aren't very many. I've run out of names. I've had to dip into the 'not-sure-how-to-pronounce-this' names. But the women who are included in the Scriptures are interesting examples of womanhood. Very few stereotypes or caricatures. These were real women who reacted to real situations in real ways. Like me.

I was thinking about a few of them imparticular yesterday. Sarah, Rebekah, and Hannah. Sarah and Rebekah determined to fulfill God's promises for Him. When He didn't do what He'd promised within their timeframe, they both figured out a way to do it themselves. Manipulative and determined. Never mind the collateral damage--Hagar & Ishmael (And Abraham, too) and Esau (And Jacob, too).

But Hannah. Not Hannah. She was broken-hearted. I think Sarah was, too. It's unimaginably hard having a womb that won't conceive, to feel broken. And maybe Rebekah was broken-hearted as well. Year after year waiting for Jacob to be made first, as God had promised. This wasn't her idea--it was God's! But where was He? What's He waiting for? All three women must've asked that question countless times...what are you waiting for, God?

But no matter how many times she asked, Hannah didn't take matters into her own hands. She took it to God, she released her grip on that which she desired more than anything in the world. She cried out to Him.

I don't have a plan for this. 

Those were the words that came to me yesterday. I can't say that I thought of it. No, that was a message. And it actually got through.

I'm more like Rebekah, in a hurry and always planning. Not manipulating people as much but trying to manipulate God to get things done! You know those ridiculous JG Wentworth commercials of people yelling--"It's my money and I want it  now!" I feel like that. You promised me xyz and I want it NOW! 

And I like to have a plan. Sarah and Rebekah must've felt pretty good at first. We know what the plan is, we can make more plans based on that. I love to make plans on top of plans on top of more plans. I'm a compulsive planner. Which is weird because I'm also indecisive...but thats a rabbit trail for another time. 

But these days my heart is worn out from planning. If this is a chess game, I'm exhausted from trying to figure out what His next move is and plan ahead based on that. My heart is fed up with my own plans. Now, instead, my heart is whispering...

God, I don't have a plan for this. 
I don't have a clue how to deal with what I feel or what I want.
 I don't know how to navigate from Point A to Point B.
I don't have a plan for this

But I do have His promises. So did Hannah...and for that matter so did Sarah and Rebekah. The defining factor is putting trust in His promises and His character, or putting trust in self. I want to be like Hannah and trust--always putting my trust in Him, His promises, His character, His goodness.

Last year for Christmas my uncle gave me a bracelet which reads 'For I know the plans I have for you' Jeremiah 29:11. And the verse finishes, 'plans to prosper and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future'. That verse has been my anthem for going on two years now. And my mother-in-law has taught me to see the miracles in ordinary days, and to expect miracles at any time. God can do anything and He will not withhold goodness to those whom He loves. As my mom often reminds me, He makes everything beautiful
in His time. And I think God's definition of beautiful differs from ours. It looks more like Him and less like a magazine. Beautiful is a heart that trusts Him in a doubting world, beautiful is a steadfast belief in His goodness in a fallen world, beautiful is loving Him even when it's hard to see His purposes. 

So while there might not be very many women in the Bible, not compared to the lists and lists of men, there are some dazzling examples. What a legacy of faith they left for us to follow.

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