WIMD Pulse - May 2012
When There Is No Plan B…Because There Never Really Is
By Darilyn Falck, MD
I remember the call as if it came in yesterday. I was dining with a friend and her family prior to a bike ride along the Columbia Gorge. I had just arrived an hour earlier and we planned to attend a conference together the following day. But God had another plan for me. A phone call. I had already given up on what I thought was Plan A. I should have known better.
I grew up in a Christian home and I don’t remember life without Jesus. I always knew I wanted to be a doctor and I attributed it to a God-ordained calling on my life. I met my husband during residency training and we married at the end of my chief year. My dreams and plans of practicing medicine, marriage, short-term medical mission work and ministry to students were all fulfilled. After Troy completed residency, we moved to be near my parents and began working more intently on growing our family. Eventually I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, and after seven years of infertility testing and treatment, including one cycle of IVF that did not result in a sustained pregnancy, we were still childless.
I was devastated and overwhelmed with grief and disappointment. How could the loving God I had known and served nearly my whole life allow this? How could this be His perfect plan for us?
Why does God seemingly shatter dreams? Why does He choose to not do something when I know He is fully capable of doing it? Why does He give me what I think is Plan B…or Plan C…or a plan that would never have even made the list? God uses this to drive me to Him and to get my focus right- on the giver and not the gift. He really does want what is best for me and wants to bless me, but often He needs to do it in a different way; not in the way that I initially consider best, but in the way he knows is the very best. God ultimately wants my desire for a relationship with Him to eclipse all my other desires. Tim Keller puts it well, “But over and over again, God meets us in the wilderness. He meets us in the desert. When we think our life is on a detour, it’s really spiritual main street. When we think everything is going wrong, it’s going wrong because it forces us to think in ways we wouldn’t have thought otherwise. When things aren’t going according to your plan, when you think you’re on a back road, it’s main street spiritually.”
I am reminded in James 1:2-5 to, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (NIV 1984). And in Romans 5:3-4, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (NIV 1984).
I want to be mature and complete and not lacking anything. I want endurance, character and hope, but my natural tendency is to avoid the suffering and trials that are needed to produce these end results.
He knows the circumstances, trials, sufferings, relationships, etc. that I must endure in order to make me more like him. In Zechariah 13:9 I read, “…I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (NIV 1984). God uses my circumstances to refine me and make me holy. God would not give me the desire of my heart if what I wanted would not be best for me…and if He had a better plan in mind. “…‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord…” (Jeremiah 29:11-14).
Just as Job did not know how his story was going to end or what was going on behind the scenes with God and Satan, I need to trust God with how my story is being weaved into His larger story of redemptive history. In the midst of infertility, failed treatment and ultimately a failed adoption, I needed to trust in His promises and purposes, trust in the person of Jesus Christ and trust that he had a plan…and that what was unfolding was Plan A.
There is a story told of an old man who lived in a tiny village. He faced a series of events related to his beautiful white horse. At every turn of events, the “wise” townspeople interpreted his circumstances and relentlessly rendered judgment as to whether his circumstances represented blessing or curse. However, he consistently replied to their comments with, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that…that is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge? All I know is that…the rest I don’t know. Whether it is a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next? No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”
How easily I misjudge my own and other’s circumstances. I focus on the circumstances and am quick to render the judgment of “blessing” or “curse,” not knowing as Paul Harvey would put it, “the rest of the story.” According to Hebrews 12, I am to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith. I am not to fix my eyes on my circumstances, on myself or even on a solution, but on Christ who is my perfect example in the qualities of endurance, perseverance and patience.
Back to the phone call. It was our lawyer’s office, “There was a baby girl born at Methodist Hospital. You need to come to the hospital because the birth mom selected you.”
So my Plan A included infertility, failed infertility treatment, one failed adoption and ultimately the birth and adoption of our beautiful little Micala. And who can say what will come next? No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows. But I rest in the assurance that I serve a God who can be trusted and always wants the very best for me.
So with God, it is always Plan A.