Last month, I stood at the window of a downtown Memphis hotel room, looking down at a minor league ballpark as the memories came rushing back.
On a Thursday in March 2001, just before noon, I joined my husband and the rest of his medical school class as they stood near their assigned base at that ballpark, each clutching an envelope. Like a bizarre adult version of a sorority bid day, the envelopes contained news of where each graduating medical student would continue their training for the next several years.
I knew what our letter said. I had spent months praying and trusting God for that moment. I was confident that He had gone before us, working out the details of His good plans for us. God was good. God was in control. Therefore, I expected to get what I wanted.
At the strike of noon, my husband opened his envelope, and my plans all fell apart.
It took a minute for my brain to figure out what my eyes were seeing: Indiana University School of Medicine. Indiana? I looked up into the ballpark bleachers, racking my brain for a mental map of the United States. Where was Indiana?
Somewhere near those other “I” states, I thought, Illinois and Iowa, land of cold and corn and snow and nowhere close to anyone I know. That’s when the tears started, and I shoved my sunglasses over my eyes to hide my distress.
After driving home and changing the greeting on our answering machine—the most efficient way of spreading news in 2001—I climbed into bed, hid under the covers, and wept for most of the afternoon. I couldn’t understand what happened. I had plans. They were good plans: relationships, career, and ministry. I was confident that God approved. And yet, my plans had been ripped from my hands and torn to shreds.
In the following months, God showed me that I hadn’t been trusting Him at all. What I thought was trust in God’s plans was really trusting that God would get on board with my plans.
“For I know the plans you have for yourself,” declares the Lord, “And I’m here to give you what you want.” That was my personal rendition of Jeremiah 29:11.
Now standing in that Memphis hotel room, I could picture that 24-year-old Marissa, learning through her pain how to trust the Lord more deeply. The experience that hurt so badly at the time now looks like one of God’s greatest mercies to me.
He knew that ten years later, His plans would take a drastic turn from my plans once again. I would need to trust Him, not only with where I’d live for the next few years, but whether or not I’d live to raise my children.
My Heavenly Father knew I needed a decade of big and small lessons in surrender to build my confidence in His wisdom and faithfulness. In His kindness, He didn’t let me walk through the next decade with an incomplete understanding of what it meant to trust His plans.
How is God asking you to trust Him today? What would it look like to surrender your plans and genuinely trust His wisdom and faithfulness to you?
“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.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)Share