Cross Words: Enjoying a life you didn’t expect


By Isaiah Pauley - Cross Words



I began my fourth year of college this week. But I’m in a five-year Master of Divinity program, so it’s not exactly my senior year. On Tuesday, Jordy had an appointment for her pregnancy. While waiting for her to return from seeing the OBGYN, I read Systematic Theology. Thankfully, our baby is looking good. And so is my life. But it’s looking a whole lot different than I expected.

Did you know it’s okay to enjoy a life you didn’t expect?

Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (ESV).

I don’t know about you, but I’m a planner. I have a detailed five-year plan on a PDF document. But whether my life looks like that in five years depends on God’s plan for my life. And sometimes that’s hard for me to embrace.

Even still, God knows better than we do.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).

I’m enjoying this season with my wife as we await our first child and strive to serve the Lord together. While my life looks a lot different today than I expected, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Why? Because I know God’s plans are better than mine, and He is in control.

But that doesn’t take away the struggle of trying to reconcile the difference between my expectations and God’s plans.

When life looks different than we expected, we feel out of control. We start worrying about how we’re going to afford x, decide y, and continue with z. In our minds, according to our plans, we have x, y, and z figured out.

My plan was to graduate college before having a baby. By then, I reasoned, I would be better prepared financially and have more time. And those things would’ve probably been true. It would likely have been the path of least resistance.

But God’s thoughts aren’t my thoughts, and His ways aren’t my ways (see Isa. 55:8-9).

What about your life looks different than you expected?

Maybe it’s a diagnosis. Maybe it’s the loss of a loved one. Maybe it’s the loss of a job. Whatever it might be, it can be hard to trust God’s plans above our own. It can be hard to rest in His sovereignty. But He can be trusted.

I enjoy my life. The Lord has given me a beautiful and caring wife. We have a healthy baby in her womb. And God is always faithful to meet our needs. So, please don’t misunderstand me. My point in writing this column is not to complain about my life. Rather, it’s to help us all embrace the fact that living a life we didn’t expect can be challenging.

I don’t know what challenges you’re facing today. I don’t know what disappointments fill your heart. But I know God cares. And His plans for you are better than your own. By His grace, you can enjoy a life you didn’t expect.

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By Isaiah Pauley

Cross Words

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.