“Plans Change”

Acts 7:17-34

Sometimes, just when things begin to look up, people encounter another set back.  We visited the dentist this week.  We are dealing with my husband’s Parkinson’s and he has had two good weeks.  He was due for his annual check up to get his annual cleaning.  We had seen the dentist last October and I knew he needed one more crown repair on a molar.  Instead the dentist saw the proof that the Parkinson’s that was not firmly diagnosed last October is undermining his ability to brush due to tremors and loss of balance.  He is recommending pulling teeth and doing a bridge.  Suddenly we were faced with the reality of the decline he is facing.

         Stephen is building his case as he is confronted by the Sanhedrin for false charges, misinformation, about his respect for the Temple and Mosaic Law, the heart of Judaism.  Stephen goes back to Abraham and builds to Moses.  Moses was born in Egypt but hidden in the Nile, found by the Pharaoh’s sister and raised as royalty.  Life is good but then he defends his birth people thinking he is being brave.  He kills an Egyptian beating a slave and buries the body.  The slaves turn on him and “plans change.”  He reestablishes life in the desert, marries, and has two sons, but one day while herding the sheep meets a burning bush that talks!  “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”  Plans change again.  He is sent back to Egypt with his famous message from God, “Let my people go!”

         Plans change.  We do not get the college of our choice and settle for second best, or so we think.  We do not marry the man of our dreams.  We do not get the job raise we had hoped for.  Today we say, “Life happens.”

It appears that life is taking a turn in a direction that is not anticipated and perhaps seems dangerous or scary.  How do we cope with surprises? Perhaps like Moses we argue with God – send someone else.  Perhaps like Dorothy standing in dull, drab Kansas we dolefully sing, “Somewhere over the rainbow.”  Too many people turn to violence to deal with the injustices of life.  Hiding in video games or shopping sprees or alcohol or pornography is no better.

         How do you cope when plans change?  Think of a time when plans suddenly changed for you.  What were you hoping for?  Was there a benefit as you look back from the perspective of time?  What helped you to cope?  Prayer, music, scripture, nature, poetry, friends all help.  Make your list but look for God’s hand in the series of events.  Blessings as you recognize and thank Him.

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