I was standing in the train station with 4 other college students as our train pulled up. I looked around to see if we were all there. "Hey, wait, where's Luis?" one of the girls asked, a bit frantically. We had only a few minutes to board our train before it would take off again and to our knowledge this was the last train of the day heading to our much anticipated destination: Lourdes, France. We had been looking forward to this trip for the last several weeks, planning an amazing 10 day break away from classes on our study abroad semester.
"He ran back to grab his passport. He forgot it."
We all anxiously kept scanning the crowd watching for him, then glancing back at the train and then our watches.
"I don't think he's going to make it back in time." Someone said.
"You guys let's pray right now that he does! Because if we miss this train, it will ruin our whole trip because we can't leave without him and the next train going to Lourdes doesn't leave until tomorrow which will mess up the rest of the travel schedule we have planned."
So pray we did and we had no sooner said, "Amen!" when the train pulled slowly away without any of us on it. 2 minutes later Luis came running up with his passport. 2 minutes too late. Oh dear...
The funny thing about situations, circumstances, life not going as we plan is that it has a way of bringing out either the best or the worst in most of us. In this moment, there were a lot of "worsts" coming out. Angry words and accusations started flying, as did pointing fingers about whose fault it was and what do we do now.
As I stood there silently for a moment, I felt the Father ask me, "Maria, do you guys trust me? Do you trust that everything I allow to happen will bring about a greater good? Even when and especially when it's not according to your plans, your timing, or how you think it should be? Do you trust that I'm at work in the middle of everything even when it seems so dark and impossible?"
"Hmm. Do I? That's a good question, Lord." I thought to myself. I guess now's a good time to try that kind of trust. Because this, compared to other things in life, was so minor though at the moment it seemed like quite a big catestrophe. "Alright, Jesus I trust in You. Please show us that you're working."
Things calmed down a bit, and we huddled together to figure out what to do next. One of the girls ran to double check the train schedule. She came running back shouting something to us as she pointed to a train that was just pulling in.
"You guys! This is our train!! There was a mix up with the schedule. If we had gotten on that other train it would have taken us in the exact opposite direction of where we needed to go! We would've ended up in an entirely different country!"
WOW. Lord, do I trust You? That was something so little compared to the big things in our lives. The parents whose kids are away from the faith, the couple who are having trouble conceiving, the single person who has been praying for their spouse, the college grad who can't seem to find a job, the high school student who isn't getting accepted into the university he/she wanted, the kids whose parents are separated. The entire country that is worried about the upcoming election.
Do we trust Him?
How often do we want what we want, when we want it, how we want it, with whom we want it, just because we want it? I know I do all the time! But there's something really freeing about surrendering all of it to the Lord and saying, "God, You see the whole picture, You desire our good more than we desire it. So I choose to trust You, even when it doesn't make sense, even when I'm scared, even when I don't like the outcome and it's not how I would've done it, even when it seems so impossible that anything good can come out of it.
Do we trust Him?
It's really hard when we make all these plans and they don't go according to how we think they should. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I struggle with trust every single day. But every single day I have an opportunity to choose. To choose to make that act of faith and trust: "Jesus, I trust in You!" To choose to surrender the control I try so desperately to hold onto in the various aspects of my life. To make those choices, but then to watch Him act. To watch the Lord do His thing. To watch the amazing, incredible, miraculous ways He wants to work in our lives if we will give Him the reigns, if we will choose to trust Him and let Him be God and let us be His kids. He is good and He is trustworthy.
After that time spent living abroad, I came away with an entirely different outlook on things not going the way I planned. Every time something went wrong, I would internally look up to Jesus and say, "Ok, what do You have planned instead?" And every time I would be amazed at the good, the beautiful surprises, the crazy adventures, the awesome people I would encounter, all because my plans crashed and burned, and the Lord had something so much better planned for me! Now I still don't love when my plans fall through, it's still a regular struggle, but I've learned to be a little excited when a flight is delayed, or I somehow miss a phone call, or I'm stuck in traffic and running late. I'm a little excited because now I just say, "OK Lord, so what're You bringing out of this situation? What are You saving me from? What gift do You want to give me? He's good you guys! Even when it's different from our plans.
I don't know the specific ways in which you may be struggling to trust God this week, but know that you're not alone. Know that you have some sisters over here who are standing with you in prayer, in hope, in learning and striving to trust, to surrender, to receive. We have a Father God, who even now, is working to bring about great good and beauty in our lives.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight."-Proverbs 3:5-6
Jesus, I trust in You!