It was supposed to be a fairly simple day. Sure it’s two days till Christmas Eve and, being a pastor, I had plenty to do. There was definitely much to get done on a rainy Monday: edit three or four bulletins, work on a newsletter for January, practice a duet for one of the Christmas Eve services, have lunch with my wife, son, one sister and brother-in-law, go to the gym to work off that lunch, and find time to work on a sermon for the second Christmas Eve service. It’s a lot to do on a rainy Monday, but I had my calendar all color-coded and portioned out. It could work….as long as there were no interruptions, no distractions, no unexpected events.
I wonder sometimes if I listen long enough and hard enough, if I could actually hear God laughing when God sees my color coded calendar with all time effectively allocated all the way down to time to walk from my office to the car.
My wife dropped me off at the office after lunch. She called me about two minutes later. I was not expecting the call. It wasn’t on the calendar, but I decided to take it. I could always drive a little faster to the gym or, better yet, skip a few minutes on the treadmill.
I did not make it to the gym. The rest of my day was reorganized around that call.
A metal cabinet with a saw attached to the top of it had fallen on my son. He had some scratches and bruising, but we were most concerned about one hand that had been pinned beneath the cabinet. It did not seem to be broken, but we decided to go to an Urgent Care center, in case it needed to be x-rayed or he needed stronger pain medicine than Advil.
Going into an Urgent Care center at the height of flu season was definitely not on my To Do list for the day, or ever really. However, I will have to say we were treated well by a caring nurse and a very attentive doctor.
It was not at all the second half of the day I had planned. My sermon Christmas Eve may not be as sharp as I would have liked it to be. And my workout schedule for the week has been thrown way out of whack. But taking that phone call reminded me of what things really need to be coded red on my daily calendar and what can move way down on my priority list.
I am thankful that Matthew is doing well and seems to be mending quickly. I am thankful for kind and caring medical professionals. I am also thankful for a sense of God’s grace guiding me even in the scary and uncertain moments, giving me the strength to go on.
I am reminded of Psalm 43:3
O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places (.NASB)
At this time of year, we are reminded through the birth of Jesus that God often shows up in unexpected ways, in unexpected places and unexpected people. God is there in what we often call the interruptions of our life, if only to give us the grace to get through such moments. But sometimes those moments can be the moments that reveal to us new insights into who God is, or even remind us that we are not God and cannot make all the minutes of the day tick according to our plans.
Thankfully God did not feel confined to the ways I had charted out on my calendar but was willing to join in on an unexpected trip to the Urgent Care center, with an unplanned afternoon sitting at home watching my son to be sure the pain was really subsiding. God was there for all of it, especially the parts I was not expecting. Thanks be to God.