Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” 16:1 says something similar. “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.” There’s also 19:21, which says that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

Maybe a week and a half ago, I had some ideas about how the last nine or ten days were going to go. I was going to keep chugging along with my spring cleaning project, I was going to work three days, I was going to have company in from out of town, I was going to write several blog posts, and so on. It would be fair to say that “many [were] the plans in [my] heart.”

As you may have guessed, things didn’t exactly go according to my plans. Instead of cleaning and getting up posts Friday a week ago, I woke up at 6:30am with a horrible stomachache. Except for brief interludes for throwing up and pacing, I spent the whole day curled up with pain and nausea in bed. Rather than going to work that Saturday, I was still dealing with pain and nausea. Same thing happened on Sunday. Monday I started feeling more human, so I started back with the cleaning. Tuesday, I actually had an appetite, and the cleaning was going well, but I got more and more congested and was getting a sore throat. Hoping it was merely a reaction to all the dust from cleaning, I did go to work on Wednesday and found out it wasn’t the dust. I had almost no voice by midafternoon. The sore throat was hanging around, too. Not only did I have a for-real-not-dust-related cold, it also snowed. It’s late March in a temperate zone. Snow really had no business falling in the last week. Most of the country experienced record high temperatures and not record snow falls, for goodness’ sake! Snow it did, though, making the drive home from work lengthy and treacherous. That might have been okay, but, adding insult to injury, there was so much wet and heavy snow that it knocked down trees and knocked out power all over the place. We lost our’s about 2am on Thursday. The electricity didn’t come back on until around 2pm on Friday. It was only about 36 hours. It is amazing, though, how not having power complicated things. We didn’t have light. We didn’t have heat. We didn’t have water. We did have guests. It was so not the plan. Everything did work out. It was harder, for the most part, but it did work out. It just wasn’t the plan.

As for God’s purposes in all this plan trashing, I couldn’t tell you. I’m sure that He had them. Maybe one of these days, He’ll even reveal ’em! But for now, I haven’t a clue.

What does strike me as interesting, though, is the lack of electricity combined with that lack being unexpected. I’ve lived before without electricity for a week or so at a time. My grandparents used to take us on awesome camping trips every summer over in Eastern Oregon. We didn’t have anything except what we hauled in, and we didn’t haul in generators. I never felt deprived, but we planned carefully. We had alternative methods to keep warm and clean, to dispose of waste, to cook, and to do all the other things that we needed. Losing power without warning at home was another experience entirely. I felt frustrated. I was worried. It was a little bit frightening. It was hard, and there wasn’t much I could do except try to find some workarounds and wait. I had no power over my lack of power.

That is interesting as well. We call electricity power, which it is, in probably more than one way. It is power in that it is a force that runs our lights and heat and all kinds of things. It is also power in that we use all those things to run our lives, to establish control and make our plans come to fruition. I wonder how well we’d do in a world without power, where our plans went unfueled.

It was a sobering experience.  It’s made me a bit pensive.

Ecclesiastes 8:7 – Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?

Ecclesiastes 11:6 – Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that,  or whether both will do equally well.