“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV) Genesis 50:20
Have you ever had a road trip go bad? You plan and try to take every contingency into account, but then there are car troubles, or the accommodations are terrible, or the weather doesn’t cooperate, or someone gets sick? In our family, we have made many cross-country trips and have dealt with all of these (though it is almost always the car trouble). Because we have had to deal with this so many times, we figured out how to look for the opportunities that crop up when we get stuck in a small town or in driving rain or on a dirt road far off the highway. A wise friend told me years ago, “There are plans that go well, or there are memories.”
Right now it may seem like life is one giant road trip gone wrong. No matter what plans your family carefully and prayerfully made, any small thing can throw them off. But God’s plans are bigger than ours, and he is at work. In these situations, he gives us new opportunities to do his will. In the story of Joseph, God shows that he can use small decisions even in terrible circumstances to work his will. Are we keeping our eyes out for the small decisions in front of us, or will we miss them because we are so focussed on the changes to our plans?
Here are some ways to help your family “do the next right thing” (as the Disney song goes):
Effecting change in our children may have to start with a change in our own attitude to dealing with trouble. This may be hard for those of us who consider ourselves “planners.” We have to trust that God is the ultimate Planner, and that his plans never fail (Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 14:24, Romans 8:28). When we are sure of God’s faithfulness, it is easier to share that confidence with our children.
Want to dig deeper? Check out Family Fire's article "Choosing to Model Joy"