The Best Laid Plans

On Thursday the boys had off school so I planned a visit with their cousins for the afternoon and a lunch date with a friend at McDonald’s. But alas, the “best laid plans” are often the ones that fail to come to fruition as was our recent experience. Both parties had to cancel plans and I was left wondering what to do that might seem like fun with the boys. Freezing temps and icy wind certainly limit our choices. Finally we settled on a trip to Culver’s for lunch with a stop by the DollarTree to pick up a few valentine decorations. As we headed into Culver’s I noticed Roman was carrying a paper he had colored in church, but I didn’t really pay close attention to what exactly was on the paper. While I placed our order, Roman struck up a conversation with the clerk, telling her of the new things he was learning to do. She was sweet and responsive and obviously enjoyed the conversation.

As we went to our table, Roman said, “I want to give her my coloring paper.”

“Sure, honey.” I answered. “You can take it up to her.”

He walked back to the register while I got our drinks. A few minutes later the woman he had given his drawing to, came over to our table, clearly taken with Roman and delighted by his present. She thanked him and me, mentioning how much the spiritual message of the paper meant to her. At this point I have to honestly say I did not even know what the “spiritual message” was. I had paid more attention to the beautiful coloring job Roman had done, than to what the message of the project had been.  We were able to talk briefly on spiritual things and invited her to join us at church.

But that was just the beginning of our visit. A few minutes later a young man who works at Culvers, came over to our table and asked me to share the reference from which the verses and the lesson on the paper had been taken. We struck up a conversation and he candidly shared his own testimony of many trials and struggles since childhood and how the Lord had brought him to a saving understanding of the gospel not long ago. What a precious blessing to fellowship with this young believer.

This whole episode has reenforced in my mind some significant spiritual lessons. God calls us to be salt and light; and that requires intentionality. But at the same time, often God uses us as salt and light when we are available without any pre-planning in the specifics. Our plans for the afternoon had been foiled. Going to Culver’s had been a random substitute, by our estimation of things. But not by God’s, for His divine plan which clearly deserves to be labeled “the best laid plan,” had included that lunch date all along. Furthermore, having no intentional purpose with the gift of Roman’s drawing, really caused me to stop and thank God for the ways He makes Himself known through us, often without any design on our part. I find myself standing once again in awe of my Savior, whose perfect purposes so often seem like deviations, yet result in divine blessings for us and others around us.

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