I was supposed to teach at a church on a Saturday morning. The session was to begin at 9:00 AM. I had never done any of my prayer teaching at this parish. So I arrived twenty five minutes before the talk was to begin. Only one car was in the parking lot. When I went inside I heard no sound, saw no person, found the corridor and room in which I was supposed to teach in be in utter darkness. I thought, “I am a failure. No one wants to hear me teach. My ministry is over. This is God telling me it is time to become a hermit.” And so on. Then the pastor came in. He seemed nonplused by the emptiness. He put on the lights and turned on the coffee. The room was big and empty. It was 8:45 AM.
My plans to teach in disarray, I unpacked my notes and such anyway. My back was to the entryway. I turned. People began to come in. They came in waves. A hundred people came to the presentation. And this was with a famous spiritual adept speaker from out of town in a setting not very far from where I was talking. This is when I am reminded that my plans, with their timelines, are only my plans. God’s timeline, much less plan, might differ from mine.
John the Baptist was connected to God’s plan. God’s plan was that the Christ, Messiah, would come in John’s lifetime. John only had to stay open for whenever it happened. John had no timeline such as “soon,” or “in a little while.” Because John stayed open he was able to see the Christ, the “Lamb of God,” when Jesus came along. John was able to see the dove. Everyone else saw nothing but Jesus of Nazareth among the crowd. Everyone else was simply self-preoccupied with their plans. So they missed God’s plan.
When your plans and timelines don’t work out according to your expectations, it does not mean that God has abandoned you or is not at work. God too has a plan for you. It may not be your plan, but if you can stay open to the unexpected, the surprise of divine action and event in your life, you will not miss God being at work in your life.