On Friday night, I was staring down at the incredibly long list that told of the mounds of school work I still had to accomplish. I was tired, exhausted. A mere fifteen hours of sleep did not provide near enough adequate rest for five days. My heart was heavy. I knew my times with the Lord had been cut short for the last few days; my survival instincts for good grades in school starting substituting bits of my time with Him for extra time spent on homework, term papers, music preparation, speeches, and studying. The next morning, thirteen hours of sleep later, I awoke to the news that my grandfather had passed away.
My reaction displayed that of shock; for me at least, there was no warning. The shock turned to an utter and overwhelming feeling of stress; his funeral was taking place during my finals for school and my final due dates for term papers. Everything that I had worked so hard on and prepared for was going to have to taken at a later time, and, most likely, a very inconvenient time. My preparation did not go to waste exactly, but it did mean that my one weekend that was coming up was not going to be nearly as relaxing or reviving as I thought it would be. It was the one weekend out of the whole year that I actually looked forward to as there would be nothing hanging over my head to be completed. That hope was thrown out of the window.
As I frantically scrabbled to somehow organize the scheduling for making up finals and completing work, He chose to stop me right were I was. In the haste of my previous morning's devotional, I had scribbled three Bible verses on the back of my notebook, intending to ponder them later. As was probably predicted, I did not actually get around to pondering them until right then.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength. (Proverbs 17:22)
You can make plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:21)
The only resounding thought I had left in my mind after reading those verses was "stop!" And thank goodness, I did. How many times during the past week did I make plans and commit my actions to something other than God? How many times did I see only my purpose in my planning rather than what God had in store? How many times had I grumbled and complained about how I hated school and how I regretted not taking my leave early? No wonder I was always exhausted. No wonder I was always tired. No wonder my grades had been suffering. No wonder I felt overwhelmed.
I had done it again, after seeing the results millions of times. I was so focused on what needed to get done that I had sacrificed my focus on what He needed me to do. My broken and burdened spirit had taken all of my joy and my strength. I had made plans, but failed to give them to the Lord. Yet another instant where I wanted control and I wanted power rather than letting Him have the control and Him have the power.
It took the death of my grandfather to show me that. It took the Lord's complete trashing of all of my plans to show me that. It took me stopping where I was in order to listen to the Voice that had been trying to talk to me all week. The grief of what I had done to my Lord compounded with the ignored grief over my grandfather's passing. While the pain is still there, I am moving on. I am moving forward knowing that my grandfather has joined my grandmother in heaven and that he is so much happier up there. I stand strong on His grace knowing that the next few days will be tough, but I will make it through every one of them; if only, I would not forget Whom I am really following.