Making A Plan
All my life I had a plan, I knew how the plan was going to go, I knew how my life was going to unfold, and I knew how to execute the plan. Well, a day before I graduated high school the plan fell apart. ‘The defense department regrets to inform you that you have be found ineligible for the selection into the United States Marine Corps. “ Well, there went my plan. I was so certain I would make it into the Armed Services I barely spent any time on my college testing, and I had only applied to two universities. Both of which I was accepted to, though, I hadn’t planned for how I was going to pay for college. So my plan flew off the rails before it even got going. After a year of moving around a bit, I got a job but wasn’t satisfied with life. I was terrified of college and failing so I ran away from that as fast as I could. It was just by pure coincidence (if there is such a thing) that I ran into an Air Force recruiter in the store. I had talked to him about my denial letter and re suggested I reapply. A few months later I moved back home to live with my Grandfather, and I talked to my local recruiter. Everything was looking good, the process was going along smoothly, and away to MEPS I went. Something was wrong though. I didn’t feel the choices in the Air Force fit my personality and my drive. When I got back from MEPS my recruiter wasn’t there at the recruiting station. I was really upset by that, and I stormed into the Army recruiting office and started talking to them. Within 10 minutes I was headed home with a list of Army jobs, and a slew of information. I had at least 13 jobs circled for further review within the 15-minute drive home. This looked promising I said to myself. I went to MEPS again for the final time before I would ship out, the rest of my testing was done; the job selection process came up. Cavalry Scout was the dream job. There was only 1 slot open so we had to write an essay between two of us candidates. Mine was chosen and I advanced to get a ship date, 6-month wait.
For the next 6 months I would train, and I would enjoy the time I had left with close friends. I would be headed to Fort Knox for one station unit training, and while I was there I would get my duty station. I had signed up for a 1-year hardship in Korea. I figured, if I was going to go to war at least I could have some training in the Army first. During basic I was doing well, I was getting faster, stronger, and testing well. I was moving along to graduate then all of a sudden I ended up with MERSA and I was hospitalized for 4 days. I missed out on vital training, so instead of graduating with my class, I would be recycled through to the next class to graduate. This hit me like a ton of bricks. The plan wasn’t cooperating. I would graduate 6 weeks later then planned. I went to Korea and placed in my unit up at Camp Casey. 1 year in Korea wasn’t going to be so bad. I had a plan, and if I liked it I might even stay one more year after that. Except the plan wasn’t going to cooperate again. We as a unit were being removed from Korea, sent to Iraq and our new home location would be determined while we were in theater. I choose Korea because hardship duty stations didn’t deploy to other combat zones, or they hadn’t in almost 50 years. All that time and effort I spent getting away from the war for a little while just vanished in front of me.
While in country I would get hurt (non combat related) I would loose friends (combat related) and I would endure hardships. I would get home and try my best to keep making plans. Relationships wouldn’t go to plan, I would end up having surgery on my knee, I would get married, then get out of the military ahead of schedule. I moved, and then moved to Europe as a civilian military spouse. I would loose that marriage to an affair. I met a wonderful woman, eventually would marry her and then in time watch as my life was torn apart by yet another grisly affair.
So, that’s pretty much the last 15 years. I look back and I snicker at how well my best laid plans would work. I heard a quote just a couple weeks ago “Make the plan, Execute the plan, Expect the plan to go off the rails, Throw away the plan.” (The Flash) That statement couldn’t be truer. What does God think of our plans? Well, funny you should ask, Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” As we all know, even as much as we may want something, that doesn’t mean that’s what God has planned for us. Amos 3:7 “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” Since we haven’t seen any prophets in a long time, it’s safe to say we often fly blind. Another saying to laugh about is “Tell God your plans and watch Him laugh.”
Living by following the cross, and doing our very best to listen to what God has planned for us is the closest we have to knowing plans will even partially work. When God closes a door we have a hard time understanding why, we have a hard time accepting no as an answer. For some it’s not a no, it’s just a not yet, but for others, their fate is down a different rabbit hole. We all know that the best-laid plan is to follow Christ. Read the scripture and the lessons left for us to follow and you can’t go wrong. Not all our plans are meant to work, some are because of our own doing, and some will fail because of others. The path your on doesn’t actually end, it just splits. It’s up to all of us to choose the path we feel lines closest to what God wants for us. James 4:13-17 “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
I’ll leave you with this story as a close. August 2012, just three months before I was scheduled to be married I was out with my girlfriend and her father. She had just got a new Smith & Wesson Bodyguard semi automatic pistol. It’s a little .380 about the size of my hand. We’d been out shooting for a little while and I opted to shoot last. I was testing out the built in laser and I went to a knee to see how accurate it was. I held the gun steady and I squeezed the trigger. It jumped like no tomorrow as I felt a huge wave of air on my face. It felt like a book had been waved in front of my face, then hit me. I went to stand up, but I couldn’t see completely. My face was red hot, and I could feel the warm hot liquid poor from my face. I could feel it on my hand when I touched my face, and it was at that moment I realized I was in need of help. I turned around and dropped to a knee. We would later find the bullet casing had exploded in the chamber. It buckled the guns plastic, and peppered my eye protection with bits of shrapnel. Sadly my glasses didn’t protect my entire face and my cheek, nose, and forehead weren’t so lucky. My vision was saved due to the glasses, but to this day a piece of shrapnel still remains in my right cheek as the surgeon was unable to remove the tiny fragment in fear of doing more harm then good. Every day we went shooting we always planned and executed safety as best we could. On this particular day it happened to be, I was doing what I was supposed to, I wore what I was supposed to, but I was still injured. Thankfully the shrapnel wasn’t lower and it didn’t go through the artery in my neck. Even the best laid, most carefully thought out plans can quickly go to all Hades. Just remember that sometimes, when our plans go off the rails THAT may be part of the bigger plan after all.