I saw that going differently in my mind…
That’s one of my favorite lines from the movie Hitch, delivered perfectly by Will Smith (aka “Hitch”) after a fairly disastrous date with the lady he’d been trying to woo. But I’ve often used those words myself. Matter of fact, I used them just last week. See, I had this all planned out perfectly in my mind. My mother was to arrive the day before my due date. In my mind, I would go into labor the morning of my due date, just as I did with my last baby. Then I’d be in the hospital for the weekend and get out Sunday evening or Monday morning. I would be able to adjust to life with a new baby during a school week when the house was a bit quieter than normal, and everything would be just right. But as it turns out, that’s not even close to what happened…
In reality, my due date passed with nary an incident. No contractions, no water breaking, no nothing. One day turned into two and then three, and my doctor’s appointment showed I was no closer to delivering than I had been the past two weeks. People kept asking me why I was still around. Any woman who has gone past her due date can tell you how frustrating it is. I felt aimless and depressed. Suddenly I was having to worry about meals for nights I thought I would be gone. I had nothing on my schedule because I hadn’t thought I would be around anyhow. I felt completely useless and helpless and finally ended up going ahead with an induction so we could have a week to settle in before our families started arriving for the baptism. I won’t go into the details of the actual labor and delivery, but I assure you even that reality was a far cry from what I had pictured it would be. And don’t even get me started on our homecoming. Two of our children were home sick from school and by the next evening the other two had fallen ill as well. The baby and I went into hiding in our room, trying desperately to keep him from getting sick too. Like Will Smith said, “I saw that going differently in my mind.”
I’m sure you can relate. Everyone has times in their lives when they’ve planned something only to have things turn out completely differently. Maybe you have a day of errands or appointments coordinated perfectly only to wake up to a sick child who has to stay home from school. Maybe you were climbing the corporate ladder and doing really well until your company had to declare bankruptcy and suddenly you found yourself out of a job. Whatever the situation, it’s a sinking feeling when you realize how little you can actually control. Trust me, you aren’t alone.
Even Jesus’ friends and disciples found themselves with that same thought—“I saw that going differently in my mind.” Consider the expectations for the day of the Jewish Messiah. He was to be their liberator, one who would free them from the reign of the cruel Romans. Most people were looking for a hero to come and save them with brute force, amassing an army against those Romans and breaking free from them once and for all. But that’s not what happened at all.
Jesus, the true Messiah, didn’t come with a show of might. He didn’t march against the Romans to defeat them. He battled much more deadly enemies, ones we could never defeat by ourselves- sin, death, and the devil. And He did battle in the most unlikely way possible, by offering His own life as a sacrifice in our place. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, His followers must have been ecstatic. Look at all these followers! Look at the support Jesus has! Now He’s finally going to do it! He’s going to march against the Romans and deliver us! This is so exciting! Imagine, then, their disappointment when Jesus didn’t proceed to decimate the Romans. Imagine their dismay when, instead, He allowed Himself to be captured, beaten, and crucified. Imagine their shattered hopes as they watched Him die an agonizing death. Imagine how aimless and depressed they felt that Friday evening, the entire long Sabbath Saturday, and waking up Sunday morning. That’s not how this was supposed to be.
But then came Sunday. The women’s discovery at the tomb changed everything. Jesus wasn’t there. He had risen from the dead. Now, to be sure, Jesus had raised people from the dead during His earthly ministry, but to raise Himself from the dead? Inconceivable! Yet that’s exactly what happened. And in doing so He triumphed over sin and Satan and even death. Now the tide had turned. It was the devil’s turn to fume, “I saw that going differently in my mind,” for he was now and forever defeated by this Messiah who had come to do far more than break the tyranny of the Romans on earth. He had broken for all time the claim of Satan on humanity. Jesus was the only Messiah needed, for all people of all times.
I don’t know what your “change of plans” is in your life, and I can’t promise that it’ll turn out better than you imagined. As for my own change of plans, I can only speculate on what may have happened. Had the baby been born according to my own time table, we would have been unsuspecting of the sickness that hit our household, and it’s quite possible it would have hit the baby first and hardest. But again, that’s only speculation. What I can promise you is what God promises in His Word—“‘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). Perhaps things haven’t gone according to your plans in life, but you can be sure that they are no surprise to God. His plans for your life are perfect, all with the same promise at the end- “hope and a future.” An eternal future, that is. In heaven. Whatever happens to you on this earth, nothing can take away the future Jesus has already secured for you in heaven. Remember that when you find yourself thinking, “I saw that going differently in my mind…” Jesus’ followers thought the same thing, but what He accomplished was far greater than their earthly expectations ever could have imagined. And your future in heaven is greater than anything you can ever imagine, thanks be to God.