Plan B: My Baby Ishmael Backup Plan for When God Forgets
Do you have one of those women in your life that says unreachable and outlandish, slay you when you need it, but really don’t want it, things?
I have one.
I have only met her in person once. She may not know it, but she’s in my top 5 of people I can’t live without. And yes, I have six kids… and a husband.
That’s not the point.
Katie M. Reid is my friend. We have a billion things in common including this thing where we regularly botch common sayings.
“Don’t throw the cheese out with the kitchen sink.”
“Don’t count the babies before they hatch from the …” No, that’s not it.
“A journey of a hundred miles starts with a thousand steps.”
If she’s reading this, she knows what I meant.
An hour later she texted me and said… “the recliner…” And I knew she knew and that we would never be the same.
In a few months, her first book will release, a book of freedom. Four months later my second book will release, another book of more freedom, for which Katie wrote the foreword.
I think in the journey of however many steps with so many babies thrown out with kitchen sinks and bathwater we always think, “I got it this time.” Then, pretty quickly after we murmur that thought, we realize, “I don’t got it… and life – life is killing me.”
So earlier this week, as I crawled into my desk chair to Skype with Katie, I was barely able to formulate complete sentences. Utterly spent and consumed with the butt kicking we are getting from satan, the universe, or some creepy alignment with the planets, I listened to Katie talk about a struggle they are having too.
And then she said something, something perfect, and another piece to the big puzzle fit perfectly into its place.
“I know that we could do it that way, but it seems like a baby Ishmael solution.”
Ishmael was the son born to Abraham and Hagar, his wife’s servant. Abraham and Sarah grew weary and began to doubt God would fulfill the promise to give them a son. So, they took matters into their own hands… Genesis 12-25
I heard what she said.
I talked myself out of it.
And then, it radiated in my ears… and then my heart.
I am not truly trusting God with our current situation. I have a plan B, C, D, E, and F. If He doesn’t come through, if things fall even more completely apart, I got this.
In my busy mind, I have birthed, swaddled, fed, burped, and changed a bouncing baby Ishmael. I tend to him regularly. He is more real to me than the God I barely wait on to save me. He is the human side of hope when faith has run out of steam.
I truly believe that God doesn’t need me to be obedient to bless me. Ishmael was blessed. That whole contrived, faithless, and adulterous act was acknowledged by God. He heard Ishmael’s mother Hagar, He didn’t deny her.
As Katie and I always say, the early bird gets the breakfast buffet at half price.
But that really isn’t the point. The point is God blesses. That is the entirety of His good nature. The issue isn’t God’s faithfulness, it is mine. In my mind, the only way financial situations get fixed are with lottery wins or some fantastic scenario where I give the Heimlich to a Billionaire Japanese businessman at Jason’s Deli, saving his life by extracting a crouton from his windpipe, and he writes me a check for $1,000,000.
I run these wild thoughts through my mind and disguise them as a vivid imagination or Plan B when in reality, it is a form of worry. And worry is a lack of faith. Planning around the worry? That’s a baby Ishmael.
He is a fussy baby, with acid reflux, loose bowels, and a nasty case of Colic. He keeps me up nights, he busies my days, and he is a full-blown distraction from the true promise of my birthright, peace.
My plans, man’s plans, all the plans of the world fit with God’s plans like socks on a rooster, (I got that one right.) Furthermore, what is it that we pray? What is it that we REALLY believe? Here among the living, with our concrete paradises and 9 to 5, 1 +1 = 2 ratios and strategies, what would we see if we stopped and gazed into the depths of the fourth dimension? The black hole where 100-year-old women birth promised baby boys, seas part, giants fall, and a Hero raises from the dead?
In the best Christianese, we profess to believe, but…
Well, I will “pray it safe” and pray for God’s will.
MMMM-K. I am going to jump out on a limb and call ballarky. I can agree with God’s will or pull an Ishmael out of my hat, but I can hardly manifest a prayer where God’s will goes against His own will.
That’s right, I commit to PRAY BIGGER. I will pray “THY WILL BE DONE!” But then, I will go on, and ask, seek, find, and BELIEVE. Just because I pray for an end to childhood cancer doesn’t mean it ends, but it was NEVER God’s will. Jesus was God’s will. He came, saw, taught, and conquered. Shazam! God’s will, done.
The biggest prayers and the greatest acts of faith and belief come not from cowering behind what if’s and backup plans. They come from laying at the foot of the Cross, God’s will, and believing He is good even when all is lost.
His Grace is sufficient.
His Will was Jesus, grace was the consequence, eternity is the prize.
As I lay baby Ishmael down I know, I am entering into a whole new piece of my faith walk. What will I dwell on if not the worst case scenarios and the best-laid plans?
Ah, Jesus… yes, Jesus.
Teacher, leader, prophet, Messiah, and friend.
I loosen the swaddle and peer into the face of the perfect Will of my God… the wait was long, the journey cumbersome, still here He is. The entirety of a perfect plan, born of a Virgin, laid in a manger.
My salvation… Plan A.
An easy one to remember.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Romans 8:28 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.
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