If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask Him?”Matthew 7:11 TPT
Things don’t always go as we plan. I once planned dinner for my family, and as I was mashing the potatoes and putting the other finishing touches on the sides, I realized I’d not hit the start button on the oven two hours ago. Everything was ready – except the main dish. I remember giggling when the same thing happened to my mother one Thanksgiving.
Life doesn’t always go like we plan, and I had to adjust my perfectly planned dinner. Pulling leftovers out of the fridge and reheating them was a simple remedy to my oversight. Other times, a quick fix isn’t as handy when reality crashes my expectations.
A month ago, I had “send a card” on my agenda for Monday morning. Perhaps you schedule things like that in your calendar, too. It wasn’t a birthday, anniversary, or thank-you card, the intent only to remind my sweet friend of my love for her. I got busy and postponed the card, opting instead for a quick text. She never texted me back. The next day, I received word that my friend had a diagnosis with a popular and controversial name. Three days later she was on her way to the hospital by ambulance.
I prayed for the Lord to bring healing to her body. I’ve seen Him heal before, and there was no lack of His ability this time, either. There were many praying for her, speaking the Word over her life, and declaring restoration in her body. I made plans for all the laughs we would have when this was all over. Instead, a month later, I was picking out what to wear to a funeral.
I felt crushed. It never occurred to me in all my talking with the Lord about my friend that she wouldn’t be sitting across from me sipping Thai tea once dining rooms opened again. Scripture tells us in Psalms 56:8 that He puts our tears in His bottle; that He records each one. He must have a massive bottle and endless ink to take record of each tear that has fallen over my dear friend. I loved her and I had not planned for her death.
She planned for it, however. She prepared for a certainty we will each face if Jesus tarries. Cathy gave her heart to Jesus and lived for Him. She shared of His goodness with those she encountered.
Cathy often talked about the ways God blessed her life. She adored her husband, children, and grandchildren. She shared how God had protected her many times in her life, and how much she loved His Word. Cathy never hesitated to extend compassion, a listening ear, and to be love in action at every opportunity.
While I hadn’t “lost” her (I know where she is), I struggled with one question. “Why?” This question burned in my heart. In a time when every answer is complicated and wrong, I struggled with the simplest question.
But God answered me. He told me why. Not why she was no longer with me, but why He had blessed me with her in the first place. It wasn’t the answer I expected, but it was the answer I needed.
The Perfect Gift
James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]” (AMP). My friendship with Cathy was a good thing, an unplanned but perfect gift. And He who loves me most knew I needed her friendship.
God gave her to those of us who loved her as a gift–her joy; the way she spoke, thought, and laughed; her antics; her sincerity. All the parts of her that made her unique and precious were a gift of God to us all. While I had an imperfect plan, He had given us all the perfect gift. And God recognized when He gave us that gift exactly how long we would get to enjoy it.
Knowing then the pain we would feel now, He still gave her to us because He loves us. I had an imperfect plan, but He knew she was the perfect gift for us. His gifts don’t bring harm. So, I appreciate the gift of the memories we made even when I have to catch a tear trailing on my face–because as much as I loved her, it just shows me how much He loves me, too. He blessed me with the gift of her love.
Things don’t always go as we plan. When we have an imperfect plan, He has the perfect gift for us. Today, you may have unanswered questions. Perhaps you want to understand why something unplanned has happened. If something didn’t go the way you prayed, listen to see if God wants to tell you why. His answer may surprise you.
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