No Plan B

September 2, 2011

This morning I listened to my co-worker describe her daughter’s decision to transfer to another college.  Apparently, she has disliked her current school and is wanting to come back to Indiana and attend IU.  Knowing that this would be a large shock to her parents, she prepared a Power Point presentation to explain her rationale.

Of course, most of us found this quite comical. A Power Point presentation? Really? That’s a little overkill! As we joked, her mom shared that the title was ‘Plan B’.

It struck me later on that there is a large group of people in the world who believe they are living ‘Plan B’ or ‘Plan C’.  In that same moment, I thought that I am likely living ‘Plan EEE”.  I have had so many plans which have ‘failed’, I am likely looping through the alphabet for the third time.

Yet, something in me says that is not true.

My last post was about being appointed and having an appointment. I shared verses from Romans 8 and I find myself there, again, tonight.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

When I first accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for me, I felt overwhelming gratitude all of the time.  I just wanted to offer my life my back to Him (I still do). I worked for years to root-out my sinful nature.  I studied the Bible and prayed. I worked hard to be honest and kind.  One day, I finally began to feel like a new creation.

And then, one Easter morning, I woke up and the day didn’t feel special anymore.  I knew Christ had died for me. I had seen him change me. 

Yet, I was missing something. 

For years, I went on feeling this way. I just figured that I was ‘maturing’. Then, I thought I needed ‘solid milk’.  In many ways, these things were very true.

Yet, I was missing something.

I read the verses from Romans and always assumed that I just needed to be more ‘spirit-minded’. And I worked harder at it.

Yet, I was missing something.

After ten years of this, I woke up one morning and I felt peace-less.

I was missing something.

I looked back on my life and felt that I had made all of the wrong decisions. I had lived a fairly upright life, yet it seemed there was nothing to show for it.

“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ.”

I was missing something.

Even though I had lived ‘well’, so-to-speak, I felt condemned. 

In the process of being a ‘living sacrifice’, I had mistakenly come to the conclusion that I needed to do it myself. 

“God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.”

All these years, I had been trying to live a ‘good life’ for Christ.  I had tried to ‘root-out’ sin and live well. But God had already done that for me. I didn’t need to try so hard.  Even though Christ’s sacrifice had cleansed me, I was still dominated by sinful nature.  Letting my sinful nature dominate me, led me down a path of death. I stood looking back on things with regret.  I felt anything, but life and peace.

I was missing something.

I needed to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.  I needed to think about  the things that please the Holy Spirit.

“And now, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true…”  Philippians 4:8

For the last year, I have been watching for the feelings of condemnation in my life.  I need to focus on what’s true.  There is no condemnation for me, because of Christ. 

From sins to bad decisions, there is no condemnation.

Which brings me to Plan B or, as I referred to it earlier, Plan EEE.

As I thought about my life this morning, I began to feel the weight of past failures and disappointments – condemnations.

And then, I then I invited the Holy Spirit to show me the truth of my situation.

And I come back to those verses in Romans 8. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Do you get the sense that God doesn’t have a Plan B for you? Do you get the sense that nothing can separate you from Plan A? 

Do you get the sense that God is Plan A?

 

I believe God changes circumstances.  I believe God, literally, gives people money.  Certainly, there are times when it seems that their employer gave them money or a loved one ‘left’ them money.  Yet, I believe that it all flows from this giant storehouse of ‘dough’ in the sky.  I know it sounds silly.  Yet, I cannot explain another way that formula showed up on my doorstep when Arianna was 6 months-old and our account was overdrawn.  Nor can I explain how we paid off $30,000 in debt in 2 years when my income was even less than that.  Certainly, someone probably put formula on our doorstep and God moved the hearts of our creditors to cancel some of our debt.  I am definitely not proud of what led us to those circumstances.  Our sins, however, do not diminish God’s work in our lives.  In fact, they illuminate the glory of His redemption. 

Right now, I would really like for God to change our circumstances.  (Wouldn’t we all?)  When I pray for these things, I envision myself shaking the legs of this really tall, super-dude.  Then, these giant gold coins start reigning down at my feet.  I know, its not really traditional and highly unlikely.  What have I done to deserve His blessing?  Just about nothing. 

Today, I got a quote from Anthem for Evan’s insurance.  It would cover his ABA therapy, which he needs 20-40 hours a week.  To put it lightly, ABA therapy is a little expensive.  Imagine paying someone with a lot of education to work with your son full-time.  Now, imagine that person makes more than you do.  How are you going to pay them?  Well, you have to buy more insurance.  Unfortunately, that insurance costs $700/month.  Yes, that’s right!  If I wasn’t a believer, then I might consider some very desperate ways of obtaining this money.  Its that important that Evan have it.  He needs this therapy so much!!!

I don’t want pity right now, but I want people to know how to pray for us.  Take a minute and see what adding a $700 bill to your monthly payments does.  Then, envision me shaking God’s legs again.  Please pray that God opens up a giant whole in the sky over our family and that all of the resources of heaven and earth (money) are at our disposal.  If that seems weird to you, then pray that Jesse get a job.  And if you know anyone who needs a FABULOUS graphic designer, then tell them about Jesse! 

I believe God created the people who designed and discovered the effectiveness of ABA therapy and I believe He wants Evan to have access to it.

For my little dude.

Jedi Evan Courtesy Peter Evans
Evan dressed as a Jedi for Halloween.

To God be the Glory. 

Great things He will do.