Fried chicken. In a kayak. On Mobile Bay. Nice breeze. Beautiful sunset. In other words, God is very, very good.
Frances and I set out late one afternoon last week, planning on reaching a small beach area we've discovered on the western shore of the Bay. With the aforementioned chicken and fixings, we looked forward to a nice picnic on the beach after a 45 minute paddle to the site. Alas, however, the tide was in, and there wasn't a spot of dry land to be seen. We therefore decided to have our meal in the boats despite the fact that Mobile Bay was choppy and raucous that afternoon.
It worked out well, despite the churning waters that caused us to have to concentrate on stability as well as eating. The chicken was great (if you want to know how to fry chicken so that it will almost bring tears to your eyes and sublime happiness to your palette, I'll be glad to tell you). The company was better. And the setting sun and a soft wind made for a blessed experience.
"A man's heart deviseth his way. But the Lord directeth his steps" (Proverbs 16:9).
We make our plans, and it's proper that we do. God Himself is a planner, having an "eternal purpose in Christ" (Ephesians 3:11). Still, we often have to adjust to different circumstances and conditions than we anticipate (something He never has to do, of course). I had laid out the details of the picnic for nearly a week in my mind, and had really looked forward to it. The little beach is a nice place, with reeds that beautifully filter the setting sun, and a wonderful view of the Bay. Things didn't work out as planned, however, and acceptance and adjustment became necessary. By God's leading and enabling, we did so, and ended up having an experience just as wonderful as the one we had planned.
Throughout our lives, the reality of acceptance and adjustment continually presents itself to us. For example, I recently heard a commentator suggest that the most important quality a President must possess is the capacity to respond well to the many unexpected circumstances and conditions he will face while in office. I think this is true, and a good prayer to pray for our leaders is that they will respond well to the unexpected. We should pray this for each other and for ourselves as well. The One to whom we have entrusted both time and eternity perfectly anticipates the exigencies of both. Our Heavenly Father is never caught by surprise - "His understanding is infinite" - and He never requires contingency plans in case things don't go as He anticipates (Psalm 147:5). Of course, this Divine sensibility is impossible to understand because we have no frame of reference for knowledge of the future. It is a wonderful thing to trust, however, as we look to God for His leading, enabling, and provision. Indeed, our capacity to accept and adjust rests on our understanding that our Lord never has to do so.
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world."