Today, I was at an appointment that should have only lasted a little over an hour. I had carefully scheduled my day around my appointment; I was confident that the trains were running on time, so to speak, and that I would be able to carry on with the rest of my day as planned. What could possibly go wrong?
I ended up being there for nearly three (unplanned) hours.
And do you know what? There was absolutely nothing that I could do about it. I had ZERO control over the siuation (although I suppose that I could have rushed out in a huff, but what would that have accomplished?).
You see, I got there on time, but there were a series of totally unanticipated delays over which I had neither control nor jurisdiction. All I could do was wait, and wait some more.
I figured that I had one of two choices: Get frustrated or simply accept the situation, and make the most of it. I opted for the latter.
I popped open the Bible app on my phone and slowly read through the verses that I was only half-listening to this morning (not my custom – confession is good for the soul!), and found several passages that encouraged me. I’m learning that sometimes the Lord permits delays in my life – even small ones! – because there is something that I am meant to learn, and today was no exception.
Eventually, I was seen, and everything took much longer than I had hoped that it would, but I decided to focus on the positive in the situation.
I struck up conversation with people who worked in the office, and complimented one of the staff members on her excellent customer service. I made every effort to remain upbeat and cheerful. After all, what would be accomplished by getting upset?
I made it home – much later than planned – but I made it. Later that evening, I heard the lyrics of a classic hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” and one particular refrain stood out to me:
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
I realized that this is what happened to me today. I found myself in a situation over which I had no control, but recognized that I could manage my attitude. Even though my appointment took far longer than I had hoped it would, I could still trust that the Lord would give me the strength needed to endure the unanticipated delay with grace and peace. And He did.
Did I accomplish all that I planned to today? Absolutely not. I suppose that’s where the “bright hope for tomorrow” comes in. 😀 Sometimes, I simply have to accept the limitations that I experience in one day, and hope that things will get better – or go more smoothly – the next day.
The key to it all, from my perspective, is having biblical optimism. This means that things may not be going according to plan today, but I can rest in the knowledge that God will give me the strength that I need to endure it. In the meantime, He fills me with hope so that I am optimistic that things can – and likely will – get better. However, even if they don’t, I can remember that He will give me the strength that I need to endure whatever trial may come my way.
Dear Lord, thanks so very much for giving me the strength that I needed today, as well as the hope in my heart that things will go more smoothly tomorrow. Help me to hold on to this biblical optimism – trusting in Your sufficiency for the day, and relying upon Your faithfulness for the future. In Your name I pray, Amen.