Best Laid Plans

Early Thursday morning, 18 women and I will fly out to New York City for a mission trip I’m leading for our church. We’ll be delivering “meals-on-heels” to a couple of Manhattan neighborhoods and serve at a couple of soup kitchens. We’ll also tour the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and get in a Broadway show and some sightseeing. I’ve spent a lot of time planning, booking, confirming and checking off. I have tried to foresee everything unforeseeable so that I will be prepared.

Yet, there are just some things out of my control. Like the weather. I can’t control it. I can’t control the airplane mechanics. I can’t control if one of us should fall ill. There are a couple of women who aren’t sure if they can go because of pending funerals and doctor visits. We all do what we can do, but there are a lot of things that are just out of our control.

“The best laid schemes of mice and men….”  That line comes to mind often. It is from a poem written in 1786 by Robert Burns. It tells of how he, while ploughing a field, upturned a mouse’s nest. The poem is an apology to the mouse and was also the source of Steinbeck’s 1937 novel, “Of Mice and Men.” It goes like this (written in Old English):

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren’t alone] 
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry] 
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,  [and leave us nothing but grief and pain]
For promised joy.

That’s life I guess. We don’t like to admit it, but we ultimately aren’t in control of most things. We do our best to be prepared and to manage our circumstances, but there comes a point when we just have to give it all up to God. Life brings unexpected sorrows and unexpected joy. That’s just the nature of it.

But the last line of the poem sticks with me. “For promised joy.” We have been promised a joy that surpasses what we comprehend. It can be hard to fathom when life’s journey gets hard. Notice I said “when” and not “if.” No one is immune to the challenges of life. Whatever you are facing, think about what you can control and what you can’t. You can’t control what others think or how they act. You can’t control Mother Nature. You can’t control the economy. You can’t control death. What you can control is your relationship with God. We are called to seek him first, then whatever happen happens, but our first priority is always him. And he has promised to be with us in the “whatever happens” part of life, walking beside us, crying and laughing with us, giving us strength. 

Being Human connection: Giving up control is hard for us humans, but it is in our relationship with the divine that we find our peace when life turns up our nest in the field.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”Proverbs 3:5

Artwork: I don’t like to use artwork without permission or credit however I was unable to determine who did this drawing. I found it here: