We are starting a school. I’ve said those words a hundred times over the past few months. It seems bizarre to say them. Sometimes I say them just to try to convince myself it’s really happening. 6 months ago this wasn’t the plan.
I’m sure you know the feeling of, “this wasn’t the plan.” There are tragic and embarrassing “this wasn’t the plan” moments. Like when the doctor breaks the bad news, or our sin catches up with us, or we take a 3 year old to the bathroom. I made that mistake once. I thought we were going to pee and then after some intense pushing, grunting, and screaming "GET OUT OF ME" at the top of his lungs, I could only say with embarrassment, “that wasn’t the plan.”
But there are other “that wasn’t the plan” moments. Like when the sellers accept our ridiculously low offer, or when we go to pay for our food and someone has picked up the bill, or when we meet that perfect best friend in the most random unexpected way or when you just want to serve kids in the city and all of the sudden you’re starting a school. That happened to me once.
As humans I think we want to have control of the story. We want to know the ending. I used to read the last chapter of books first so I knew how to interpret the rest of the story. If the hero was going to die I didn't want to get too attached to him/her and if the conflict was going to get resolved I wanted to know not to be too upset while it was happening. Knowing the ending allows us to cautiously regulate our emotions. But in life, I can’t flip to the end read the last chapter and make decisions based on that. So, many of us compensate. If we can’t know the ending then we’ll just be the hero and write our own story.
Recently I’ve been captivated by the story of the little boy that fed 5,000 people. I know it was Jesus who actually made the fish and the bread multiply, but that little boy was faithful with his lunch. Real talk, if that was me, I would have gone and tried to bring enough food back for everyone. Because what if Jesus started passing it out and only half the people got fed? That means there would be 2,500 hungry people mad at me. And what if Jesus didn’t work His magic? I would have wanted to be prepared for that. I think many of us, including me, show up with the food for the 5,000 and then give God the 5 fish and 2 loaves and have the rest as back ups…just in case. Or we don’t show up to Jesus until we have it all together. We want to be in control.
In this season of my life and in the life of Urban Christian Academy we really only have 5 loaves and 2 fish. And as we look out into the proverbial multitude we are keenly aware that what we have isn’t enough. Here’s the beautiful Truth God has been reminding us of through this story as stated in the Jesus Storybook Bible:
“Jesus did many miracles like this. Things people thought couldn't happen, that weren’t natural. But this was the most natural thing in all the world. It’s what God had been doing from the beginning, of course. Taking the nothing and making it everything. Taking the emptiness and filling it up. Taking the darkness and making it light.”
We feel like this “that wasn’t the plan” life that we are living is exactly God’s plan. Every step has been filled with Him taking nothing and making something. God taking the emptiness and filling it up. In human terms we are a long way away from having all that we need. But what a marvelous reality to be in a place where one whisper from the God of creation can make the impossible possible, can turn the nothing into something. We are caught in a glorious story. We are not the heroes. In fact, the courage we are operating with isn’t even our own. God’s relentless grace is overwhelming us. Just as He winked at the little boy with his little lunch and whispered “watch” with that hopeful whisper that created the galaxies, He does the same for us. Our hearts are overwhelmed by God’s whisper, “Watch.“