Are my days planned?

I’m in his hands, I’m in his hands
Whate’er the future holds,  I’m in his hands.
The days I cannot see have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see.
I’m in his hands.              John Gowans

Some years ago this was one of my favourite songs, partly for the reassuring thought that God was in charge of everything. At times I’ve questioned how actively and how minutely God plans my life. Is he only interested in the big “spiritual” things or does he intervene in more mundane areas of life?

I can see a number of major turning points in my life where God seems to have been at work: my first job, my calling to officership and meeting my future wife. But also much smaller situations such as  providing the perfect wedding car. I know the sceptics will argue that these were just coincidences, but in each case a lot of factors over which I had no control fell into place with unexpected but delightful results.

So you would think that when we recently had to contemplate a major decision, we would have been happy to leave it in God’s hands. You would be wrong; in fact we became rather anxious  (though perhaps I should speak just for myself). God had to arrange another pleasant surprise and a blunt sermon to get our attention.

Various commitments left us short of time to arrange outfits for a recent family wedding.  The dress Elizabeth settled on was a compromise: giving up the desired prom style for the colour to match her special jewellery. The small tailor I visited to enquire about a kilt had nothing in my price range. Yet before I left the shop he located a second hand quality tailored kilt and accessories which needed just a small adjustment. Near closing time that same day we foundmthe perfect shoes for Elizabeth. And only days before the wedding we located a cardigan in an unusual colour which brought  Elizabeth’s outfit to life. On the morning of the wedding we walked into a salon where Elizabeth was given a stunning hairdo for a bargain price. The end result was stunning and we received many compliments at the wedding.

But would God really waste his time helping us to preen ourselves for public display? Generally speaking, I might agree. But in this instance I can think of two reasons why this occasion may be different. First, when we travelled to Italy for the wedding of the bride’s brother, the airline lost our luggage and we attended the ceremony in the clothes we travelled in – embarrassing and uncomfortable for us. Hence appearing smart on this occasion was important all round. Second, he needed to get our attention for our big decision. Unfortunately this was not enough.

So, on the Sunday afterwards we attended the contemporary service at Berwick Baptist Church, where our friens John and Maggie Hodgkins were called to speak on the theme Let go and Let God. Now. I admit to hating that phrase. I have heard it used often bh people who don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. But as John unfolded the story of Joseph, and explained how God used Joseph’s out-of-control situation to prepare him for leadership,  we realised we had been fretting over something that God already had in hand. We were able then to allow others to take decisions that would affect us, knowing that God was in control.

About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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