Thwarted Plans

Read Matthew 1:18-25

Did you have specific plans that you found thwarted this past year? I think most of us found ourselves in that situation, specifically because of the pandemic. Like me, perhaps you also experienced confusion, frustration, and helplessness over those things that were beyond our control. 

Mary had plans. She probably planned to marry, have children and raise a family and live a life similar to that of other women in her town. Joseph also had plans. But they both found their plans thwarted by another plan out of their control: God’s plan.  

We read that Mary accepted her circumstances without knowing the future. She did not know what would happen with Joseph. Rejection? Public humiliation? Private divorce? Would she be left all alone and rejected by society? Any of the above were possibilities, considering her condition.  

An angel intervened, speaking to each of them separately, and in both cases, Mary and Joseph accepted this new change of plans. It is quite remarkable to consider how they dealt with such a unique circumstance, given their culture, tradition, and location. Yet, they embraced this unexpected plan and welcomed Jesus as his loving earthly parents. 

Perhaps your plans in life have already been interrupted multiple times. The truth is we can expect disruptions to continue to occur in the future as well, because much is out of our control. So the question for us is not how to avoid these things or live in fear of them, but how will we respond when the unexpected occurs? It comes down to that inner place where we fight with the will and focus our eyes on the Master of the universe. Will we accept and learn, grow and give, worship and wonder? Will we trust that a greater, supreme purpose is at work beyond our understanding? It is a given that there will be unknowns and insurmountable circumstances; the question is how we will respond. What fruit is God is trying to bring to the world through us as a result of thwarted plans? 

For Family Discussion: Name some of your plans that were thwarted this year. Can you see some ways that God may have been bringing about something greater, even just in the quiet of your heart?  

For Personal Reflection: How do you respond when the unexpected occurs? What fruit might God be trying to bring to the world through us as a result of thwarted plans? 

by Prasanta Verma Anumolu