Day Eleven: Hope from His Mysterious Plan

Day Eleven: Hope from His Mysterious Plan. 31 Days Relishing Hope

 “I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.” Colossians 2:2

This last week, our family went on a little vacation to Southern California. We started our trip with a lovely stay in the mountains with some dear friends. Years ago, God assembled this random little group and I can’t begin to explain what happens to my heart when we are together. Back in the day, we would meet every Monday night in our living room in Los Angeles. We would bring all the joys and struggles of our days and lay them down at our Father’s feet together. For hours (not kidding), we would pour our hearts out to God. Have you had a friend advocate for you before the throne of Grace? I count these as some of the most precious gifts I have ever received.

During the time that this little group met, we were all doing the hard things of life. There were big changes, health issues, missions and ministry. To be quite honest, there was a lot of heartbreak and a lot of seeming impossibility. As we would come together to share what God had done, our stories were not usually the big, miraculous happenings that we were hoping for. Instead, they were a steady stream of faithfulness that looked much like the group He had knit together.

In Colossians, Paul says, “I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.” As we walked together through the hard things, we caught glimpses of Christ. There was the knowledge that we were never really alone and the ability to do the very hard things, because dear ones were praying strength into the weak places. With every act of encouragement and sacrificial love came a better understanding of how God loves. And, even though, we wanted a different kind of answer to our prayers, the one He was offering was the very plan He has for us all. Himself.

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Community on the train

Last weekend, our family went to the other side of town to go to a festival.  We decided to take the light rail because we thought it would make for a more fun experience.  Somewhere along the line, I must have forgotten how motion sick I get on those things.  Hahaha.  It was still very fun.  With every stop, more and more people got on, talking about the festival that we were going to.  The train filled to uncomfortable proportions, and we all looked, knowingly, at each other.  Yes, we are going all the way to the end of the line.  By the time we made it to our destination, anticipation had risen.  We were going to a party.  And, it was going to be fun!

We always tell the kids things are better when shared.  Meals tastes yummier.  New toys are more fun.  And, as it turns out, the same is true of festivals and light rails!

The best part of our day, however, was on the train ride home.  We were exhausted.  We squished into an already full train, knowing from our previous ride that everyone was going to go the whole way.  This train would only get more full.

Well, we started out okay, both the 9 yr. old and the 5 yr. old wanted to stand.  They thought it was fun to try and surf with no hands.  Of course, this only lasted for about two stops.  Then the littlest wanted to be held.  My husband tried to explain why that would be a really bad idea on a packed, moving train, but she was not understanding.  It was going on 10 o’clock and she just wanted to lay down.  At one of the stops, a large group got off and through the shifting of bodies, we saw what looked like some empty seats.  My husband wove through the crowded aisle to try to get a seat for the little one.  Once they got there, they found a little family had gotten there first.  In the empty seat was sitting a boy, about 11yrs. old.  He looked up and saw my husband with our daughter, and said, “Do you want this seat?”

It was so sweet, and so gentlemanly of him.  The whole back of the train took notice.  A sweet homeless man, sitting in the back row with his friend, turned to the boy’s mother and said loudly, “You have a good boy.  That’s a good boy there.  Mom, you have a good boy.”

My husband turned to agree with the gentleman in the backseat, and started a conversation that would last all the way ’til the end of the line.  They started talking about kids and manners.  He made fun of the balloons tied to my husband’s backpack.  “Look at this guy, he knows because he’s got balloons!”  It was funny and endearing.

Then, they talked about the festival.  And, they talked about church.  Then he introduced the gentleman sitting next to him and the three of them started discussing things.

I found out later, remember, I was standing back in the midst of the crowd, trying not to throw up on anyone, that the loud cheerful gentleman was telling my husband, “This guy,” his quieter friend, “he has it bad.  His wife is dead.  He’s living in a shelter.”

“And, my dog died.” the quiet one added.  They went on discussing the hardships of life until my husband asked if he could pray with him.

“Oh, yeah.  I’m Roman Catholic, let’s do,  the Our Father,” so they prayed the Lord’s prayer in the back of the crowded light rail.  Then my husband said, “Would it be okay to pray a special prayer?  Can I pray a special prayer for you now?”  And, he laid all the hardships and the sorrows of this man’s life down before our Heavenly Father.  When they were done praying, the gentlemen started asking questions about the Bible, and why there are different churches, and what the different churches believe.  Every once and a while, I would hear a hearty, “‘Cause this guy knows, he’s got the balloons!” followed by laughter.

They communed like this all the way until the end of the line.  It was a sweet, sweet time of sharing hearts and life.  It was the fun kind of community that our fast paced, individual lives don’t always permit us.  It started with an 11yr. old boy who was willing to give up his seat.  Then was added to by a kind gentleman, who was concerned for his friend.  Then a goofy looking guy with balloons tied to his backpack offered to pray.  Things are better when shared.  Seats.  Light rails.  Life.