When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned

Today as I sit at home and write this, it’s my youngest daughter’s 11th birthday. So far, there’s been pancakes with ice-cream for breakfast, birthday balloons, and birthday presents. And tonight, we’ll attempt to recreate her favourite restaurant at home, with lots of sushi and a couple of train sets.

But the reality is, though my daughter is having a great day, and tonight will be lots of fun, this birthday is not entirely how she expected it to be. There’ll be no grandparents joining in the celebrations, no cousins, no uncles and aunties, or friends. They will all be staying safely at home, and so will we. There will, no doubt, be lots of online chats and phone calls throughout the day, but somehow, it’s just not the same.

Life doesn’t always go as planned, does it? I’m fairly sure that back in January as you looked at the year ahead, you didn’t plan on being caught up in a world-wide pandemic. No one plans for the ‘bad stuff’. But when it happens, we shouldn’t be surprised.

The Bible tells us that in this life we will have trials (1 Peter 1:6, James 1:2). The Bible also gives vivid recounts of people going through trials. Have you read the book of Job lately? He lost his family, his health, his career, everything he had ever worked for, and yet this was Job’s response: “…the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21).

If Job’s response seems like an impossibility to you right now, why not start by simply finding something you can be thankful for? The warmth of the sun, the laughter of your children, the safety of your home, the kindness of a friend, the beauty of the sunset. Being thankful leads to praising God. After all, as we read in James 1, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (v.17).

My daughter Ana is thankful that she can do ‘school’ in her new PJs, and that she can play with her presents on her lunch break. What about you? What are you thankful for?