We’re just hours away from leaving for our Christmas vacation, and I can NOT wait. I love Christmas and Christmas celebrations. Just last week we were so blessed to celebrate Christmas with our Care Group. We spent time sharing a meal and talking about the past year. David and I got the chance to share how we have seen the Lord’s incredible kindness in the last year. Every time I think of it, I am filled with this unfamiliar wonder and gratitude, and I realized today why it is.
Growing up, I was often encouraged in the idea that God’s will was like a tightrope– one misstep, and you were automatically living his “Plan B.” Getting back to “Plan A,” if even possible, required an awful lot of striving and time. God’s plan just wasn’t going to work if you were constantly messing up.
At the time, I had no idea how damaging this idea would be to my faith. A lot of my college years were spent being released from the crippling fear of “messing up” God’s plan. Only recently have I begun seen the way that this belief shaped the way I received each day from the Lord.
You see, this idea implies that there’s something I’m doing to earn or deserve the plans the Lord has for my life. There are two reasons this is terribly damaging. First, when the Lord’s plan includes suffering, it was very difficult to learn, lean in, and wonder why when I believed that I had somehow brought this upon myself. Second, when the Lord’s plan is for something good and excellent, I believed that you somehow deserved it by “sticking with his plan”.
There is nothing like the wonder that I experience every time I think of the sickness of my heart, the doubt, hopelessness, and pain that David and I were experiencing when we found out the Lord had given us this little girl. This was not a situation where I could point to any of my obedience, tenacious faith, or hopefulness to show how I deserved what the Lord was giving. I can only point to the Lord’s faithfulness to will and to act as He sees fit and his kindness to change our hearts so that we learn to want what he wants and value what he values. After months of prayers that seemed to go unanswered, the Lord answered when we were in a place to receive His answer with wonder and gratitude.
As I anxiously await the birth of our daughter, I am repeatedly awed by a God who gave what he wanted into open hands and has taught our hearts to love what he loves and trust his love. And as I look towards Christmas, I am awed by a God who sent his son to a world that did not want him, did not treasure him, and eventually killed him. I am awed by a God who will do what he wants and teach us to live in accordance with his will. I am grateful for a God who would send his son to a world that didn’t even know its need and provide a way for us to know him. I am awed by and grateful for the gospel.
*As a side note, the title of this post is from the song “There is a Reason” by Caedmon’s Call. Check it out.