Has it ever happened to you that your plans were all set for the day, all organized down to the most minute detail and then out of the blue someone or something totally upset everything? Maybe somebody, some person appeared on the scene that you had not expected in a blue moon. What was your reaction to this? Did you get upset, angry, irked and you let the person know by word and gesture! Maybe your thoughts ran as such: I have my plans, my goals and my objectives to accomplish and they have to be carried out and that’s it!
There is nothing wrong with order, method, long-term planning and even short-term planning and goals. If not the world would be in total disarray and disorder, no doubt! Even St. Ignatius of Loyola states that one of the primary purposes of going through a series of Spiritual Exercises is for the purpose of ordering the disordered.
However, to live our spiritual journey with the Lord we must accustom ourselves to expect surprises, contradictions, upset plans and let’s say it, the reality of the cross--- not to do our will but the will of God!
Where are we heading with this short reflection? Very simply this: our God is a mysterious God and a God of surprises. God will send many surprises to you during the whole course of your life. Many of these surprises consist of God intervening to upset your well-ordered plans.
Therefore, how can we react towards the intervention of surprises and the apparent upsetting of our well-ordered plans and projects? We should have a strategy and here it is.
1. BE PREPARED! Be prepared right now for surprises and the contradiction of your well-thought out and well-prepared plans. If you are vigilant and prepared for the inevitable: the surprise contradiction of your plans, then you will not lose your peace when it happens.
2. GOD’S DIVINE PROVIDENCE. Even though our plans may be brilliant and well-thought out, God’s mind and His will far transcend our mental projections!
3. CONTRADICTIONS ARISE? Instead of giving into your normal and inherent impulsivity and impetuous nature, stop and pray and reflect on the reality of God intervening with another plan which is better than yours!
4. LOOK AT THE CROSS. When the contradiction of your plans, the upset nature of your projects weighs down upon you, then look up at Jesus as He hangs on the cross and remember His last words shortly before He gave up His spirit: “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus hanging on the cross, shedding every drop of His Precious Blood, how counter-cultural that God would decide upon this means to save the whole created universe. He ends by breathing forth His spirit into the hands of the Father.
5. HUMILITY. Our pride can very easily get the best of us! One manifestation of pride is that we can convince ourselves that our persons, projects and ways of doing things are superior to the others that surround us. God can intervene to contradict our plans for the simple reason to lower our pride and help us to grow in that virtue so pleasing to Jesus—meekness and humility. Jesus once described His personality, the disposition of His Heart with these words: “I am meek and humble of heart.”
In conclusion, none of us like to be upset and turned upside down by others who contradict our plans, purposes and goals. But let us stop the next time and reflect: maybe this contradiction comes from God Himself. Then, no doubt, His plans far exceed ours. May our prayer be: “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….”