God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and God’s ways are not our ways. That’s the original version from Isaiah 55:8-9. It was popularized by the fictional Father Cavenaugh in the movie Rudy, 27 years ago. The movie priest was counseling a depressed Rudy and said, “in thirty-five years of religious study, I’ve come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts; there is a God, and, I’m not Him.” Despite the grammatical error, this memorable line represents the foundational reality of my existence and of your existence. God exists. I am not God; you are not God.
As we ponder the truth of these words of God declared to Isaiah, we find it is very good news - very, very good news. However, we still find that when something goes the way we didn’t expect or plan, our first thoughts and self-talk are often not in line with this truth. We react badly to adversity, to kids who fail a quiz for the third time, to rejection, to politicians who always seem to do exactly what we don’t want them to do. But, the apostle Paul’s writings remind us that “Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” Talk about someone with disrupted plans! He wrote to the Corinthian church in 2 Cor 11:24-25, “Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the thirty-nine lashes. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea.” It’s like he discovered that when his plans went south, Christ took him to places he wouldn’t have dreamed of. At the end of his last missionary journey, he ended up in Jerusalem, as the rope in a tug of war between the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Roman army had to intervene to keep him from being torn apart. He was thrown into prison for his attempt to bring belief in Jesus to his people. But in prison, Jesus Himself appeared to Paul and told him: “Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome.” And so he did.
I believe that if each of us would turn our life over to God as Paul did, if we would make our constant prayer, “Lord, Thy will be done,” we WILL have a similar life experience. Right now, many of us are at home, either in self quarantine or perhaps we have no choice in the matter. Maybe our kids are out of school or our company has sent us home for a few weeks. What a great time to put yourself in His presence! He is closer to you and closer to me than any of us is to ourselves. These next few weeks ahead are destined to not be smooth and flawless, as we see where the COVID-19 corona virus takes us. So now is the time to lean on God as never before. Now is the time to praise God for who He is, and thank Him for what He has done, is doing, and will do, whether you understand it or not. But to hear God, we must communicate with Him. He may speak to you in silence, or in the Scriptures, or in something you have heard from someone else.
However you feel about your plans being altered, spend whatever time it takes to pour out your heart, and listen to God’s heart, remembering He is still in control.