#394: Unplanned

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #394, on the subject of Unplanned.

Maybe a couple years back there was a story of a woman who received a note from someone she had known thirty-some years before in high school apologizing that she would not be able to make it to the surprise birthday party her daughters were secretly planning for her.

Singer/Songwriter Matthew West and family.

Yeah, big mistake.  But it calls attention to something.  Surprise parties don’t just happen.  It never is that a bunch of your friends accidentally showed up at the restaurant where you happened to decide to go for dinner, and they all shouted, “surprise” and brought out a cake.  Someone planned it, did a lot of work, and made it happen.  In fact, surprise parties require a lot more planning and work than the ordinary ones, because among the tasks involved are keeping it a secret from the birthday celebrant and ensuring that he or she gets to the right time and place.  It is certainly never an accident.

In fact, I’m inclined to think that there are no accidents in life.  Oh, certainly there are events, many of them from our perspective undesirable, which can be at least in part attributed to our own individual or collective negligence or poor planning.  Yet the number of times people are awakened by they-know-not-what before they drive off the road or over the center line, or managed to find the brake before they collided with the car that cut them off, reminds me that God could prevent these other accidents and for one reason or another chooses not to do so.

In the words of a recent popular song,

Oh I don’t believe in accidents.
Miracles, they don’t just happen by chance.
As long as my God holds the world in his hands.
I know that there’s no such thing as unplanned.

The impetus for writing this is that a friend I know only over the internet, but fairly well for that, very recently realized that she might be pregnant.  She has one child, and horror stories of that pregnancy.  She also has a horrifying medical history that includes (prior to that birth) a grueling miscarriage that had her comatose for several days, of a child who was far enough along that she had already named him, and other medical problems that would make a full-term pregnancy torture, possibly crippling, possibly life-threatening.  She says she cannot have another child, as much as she would want one.  I have no right even to suggest what she should do, and unless you count this article I have not done so; I know that she is in tears over the choice she faces, and the moreso because she is sure her choice will disappoint me.  I doubt she will read this, simply for that reason, and it is possible that by the time I post this the matter will have been, one way or another, resolved.  Yet it is a situation that haunts many women.

I will say that I cannot know what God’s intention is in this event.  Anything more that I might say about it would be unfair and unkind.  However, that song, the title song of Matthew West’s 2019 album, Unplanned, continues:

I thought it was my story’s end,
But now the future’s all I see.
Instead of asking who you might’ve been,
I’m wondering who you’re gonna be.

I pray for wisdom for her, and wish her a positive outcome in this.  I believe in a God who cares for us, each of us, all of us, born and unborn.  I believe in a God who has His hands on all the events we think are accidents.  We suffered five miscarriages; we have five sons.  Pregnancy is never easy, but children are one of the gifts God gives.

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