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Jan 27 2011

Hidden Plans

Posted by Mugs @ 8:40 pm in Devotional

By Mugs Manry

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

“The neighbor just ran her car into the tree in our front yard. What do I do?” my eldest son, in a harried voice, asked me over the phone. He had been left at home to baby sit his siblings. I responded with questions, “Were the kids in the car with her? Is everyone alright? Was it the Cherry?” Afterwards, I can never fully explain why I say and do certain things during a crisis. My neighbor and her children are a million times more important than my cherry tree. I know this. However, during crisis, correct perspective often eludes me.

He answered, “Yes, I think they are O.K. No, it was the other tree.” I prayed that God would be with them and told my son to call 911 and then go outside and help them. Later, we continued to thank the Lord that no one was killed or seriously injured, but we were saddened that our neighbor endured a frightening accident because of a stuck accelerator. Her car and the Bradford Pear Tree were damaged beyond repair. The tree had to be cut down.

I attempt to train myself and my children for times of crisis. My son is Red Cross babysitter certified, and I had talked him through many crisis babysitting scenarios. The “what to do if this happens” discussions became more and more absurd until my 5 year old asked, “What do we do if my brother has locked himself outside and we are in the basement because of a tornado and there is a UPS guy on the porch?” After fully discussing this scenario, I figured we had covered everything. Unfortunately, in life, it is impossible to be prepared for every unexpected loss.

A week after the accident, I watched the tree removal and the stump grinding. When the tree was gone, I walked out and stood on the spot and considered the damage and the cost. I prayed for my neighbor. Gradually, I realized that I was standing in full sun, a rare event in my yard full of mature trees and shrubs. “A flower garden,” I thought. “I can plant a flower garden here.”

So I started the process, not with a plan, but with a plant. There was a small rose bush in the backyard, struggling to survive in full shade. I dug it up and moved it to my new sunny spot. Next, I dug up 20 year old peonies and planted them out front to make way for my husband’s dream of fruit trees in the backyard.

A friend was dividing her plants and gave me the extras. Plants went in. Plants went out. I moved them here. I moved them there. The shape of the garden was formless and awkward. I could not comprehend the layout until one day I realized that I was walking on a semi circle path throughout it. At about this time, my husband, digging behind the backyard fence, struck flagstone pavers. He brought them out front and placed them for my path.

I could see the majority of the plan now, but it still needed some tweaking. After years of teasing my mom about her haphazard gardening methods, I was now adhering to her “the plan will reveal itself as I go along” method of garden design.

Sometimes we have to accept this method in life as well. There is no denying the damage and the pain when a loss occurs and “what was” is no more. We are sometimes frozen in place looking back and trying to regain what we cannot. Rarely, at the moment of loss, will we see the whole plan and know how God is working, what God is doing, and why God allowed it. For most of us, we may have to wait until heaven to fully understand.

However, we cannot stay at the moment of loss. We must pray for The Holy Spirit’s guidance. We must step forward in faith to fulfill the part of the plan that we can see. As we are moving forward, He will give us each new step, and eventually a new path to walk.

Dear Lord, “What was” is no longer, and I don’t understand why. Grant me comfort for each day, wisdom to see Your direction, and faith to step forward in Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Write down all that you have lost and release it to the Lord in prayer.


Is there a part of the plan that you can see?

Has The Holy Spirit prompted you to go forward with a step of faith?

Are you willing to step out in obedience without all the answers?

Power Verses:

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV) “Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

13 Responses to “Hidden Plans”

  1. Mary says:

    Thanks for this encouragement. I am not one to embrace change and I sometimes try to live by clinging to dead trees that need to go. Your words are another thing that God is using to nudge me gently but persistently forward.

  2. Don Caswell says:

    When people pass by our front garden and comment one way or another, I just tell them “I’m not a landscape designer, I just plant flowers!”

  3. Sherri Wille says:

    Oh Mugs! I love reding your words of wisdom!!! Thank you. I just thought I would use this opportunity to let you know and have you let your “Meloch” family know, that my dad went to be with Jesus last week. My mom is doing good as can be expected. She is a strong woman. They were married 56 years. Daddy was 80. I know you all have fond memories of our years at camp and VBS and would want to know. Thanks again for the devotional. I am actually printing this one off to send to my mom. Love Sherri

  4. Mugs says:

    I’m saddened to hear about your loss, and pray you are comforted by the hope that one day we will all be together again praising our Lord in “Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”

  5. Jean Cole says:

    I was really touched by this this.thanks.

  6. Michelle says:

    Thank you for this, dear sister. It touched me today.

  7. autumn (your favorite niece ;P) says:

    Oh,my crazy cousin,only Zeke would come up with something so absurd to say. I love and miss you all hope to see or hear from ya’ll soon.

  8. Kelly S. says:

    I’m not entirely sure that I’ve met you, but I used to go to church with your husband & his family. Tami posted a link to another entry of yours, and then I stumbled on this one. It was a much-needed message for some stuff I have going on in my life right now, and just wanted you to know that it really touched me and was something I needed to hear. Such a great perspective for times of change & loss & uncertainty.

  9. Mugs says:

    Kelly…Thanks for your kind words, and continue to place your faith in God. All the Manrys are praising God today for Darla’s successful kidney transplant. It was certainly a hidden plan. Yesterday morning none of us knew God would answer years of prayers in a 24 hour time period. God is good and His mercy endures forever.

  10. Kelly S. says:

    I know, so exciting! Definitely a time of rejoicing for your family, Darla, and anybody who knows y’all!

  11. tami says:

    I can see through the fog today, the years that have passed since mama went to Jesus and this day, the months passed as my sweet, fatherinlaw has joined her , our aunt Billie…. The beautiful moments as family we have shared yet, God restores my heart daily with each loss to know this isn’t a forever loss. Today, I can love my 4 grandkidsa n extended to know that I’m planting seeds of God’s love along our paths. Praying to be a building block for God in all their lives.I believe the loss helps me see where yes, the hole is there ~ the hole is deep of what once was and will not be~ I pray God allows me the love and opportunities to be in His Spirit that I accept our loss yet, look forward to our gains … As we are now to be grandparents again. It’s beautiful the growth , the continued growth in life that takes place through death if we turn more and more to Him. As always Mugs, I’ve enjoyedy our devotion. Thank you so much for being God’s blessing in our lives.

  12. Mugs says:

    Tami…when I consider all God has done in and through your life, I want to rejoice and clap and cheer. You’ve endured much struggle, loss and grief and yet in you the light of Christ shines out in the darkness. Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” I’m remembering the Manrys, jam-packed on all the couches, singing and your Mama’s sweet harmony tying it all together. If you can find a moment, please make a video of you, Nissa and the girls singing “This Little Light of Mine.” I want to play it and sing along.

  13. tami says:

    You are such a sweet, blessing. I’ll get on that tonight…. Heck, I might get Dwaynei involved ?.
    We have and we continue to be so blessed.
    Tonight, my mission is to sing sing sing….. Oh and record.
    Love you much

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