Thousands of folks in Tulsa, Okla., watched last month as a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere was unearthed from an underground concrete vault where it had been buried for 50 years as part of a time capsule of American culture.
At a ceremony complete with drumrolls, the crowd gasped when the plastic wrapping was removed, revealing the vintage vehicle covered with rust and mud. Plans to fire up its engine and drive it around town were ruined. "We had such hopes," said one onlooker.
Sometimes the future doesn't turn out according to plan.
Two years ago, I was very content with my life. I'd just received a promotion at work. My wife's job was great. I lived near my family. I enjoyed a great network of friends. My plan was to live in New Orleans forever.
Then hurricane Katrina hit. Overnight, my world was turned upside down. With fear of an unknown future hanging over us, my wife and I faced the fact that our long-term plans would not be realized.
As I contemplated our next steps, I turned to God. I prayed to know that God would always care for my wife and me and that we would always be where we needed to be in His universe. I prayed daily for patience and pure intentions, even as I reminisced over my former life.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote, "Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action. Love is priestess at the altar of Truth. Wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept. Patience must 'have her perfect work' " ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 454).
To me, this implies the need to face unexpected uncertainty with an understanding that if we trust God, things will turn out OK because He loves us so much. The passage also points out that it is critical to be patient and to act with pure intentions. I realized that we had to look past what we humanly desired, and instead, get in tune with God's plan. We had to trust that God was in control and was taking care of our needs.
This psalm makes the point: "Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee" (143:8). When we trust God and listen for His direction, we're not led astray.
Soon my wife and I came to understand that God's plan for us was to relocate. Although I rebelled against this idea, we decided to trust God.
When we both truly relied on God, we felt His love embrace us like a warm blanket. Fears about the future faded, and, with them, all yearnings for the way our lives used to be. It was so clear to us that God was in control and was guiding us in the right direction.
I understand now that letting go of my personal concept for the future and accepting God's plan was what made my family's transition to a new city so smooth. So many doors were opened for us.
Fast forward nearly two years. We've settled into our new routines, and things feel just right again. Only this time, I'm not cozying up to any long-term plans. I'm leaving my future in God's loving care.
What Thou shalt today provide
Let me as a child receive,
What tomorrow may betide
Calmly to Thy wisdom leave;
'Tis enough that Thou wilt care,
Why should I the burden bear?
"Christian Science Hymnal,"