When You Think You Know God’s Plan

When You Think You Know God’s Plan

Looking back at everything I’ve said over the past two months, I imagine my heavenly Father chuckling at me—in a loving way, of course.

“Oh, she thinks this is a reward for learning contentment. She’s in for a surprise!”

Well, maybe it is partly a reward for learning contentment. We’re only a few days in, so it’s hard to know. These few days have been so different from my expectations, though, it’s difficult to wrap my head and heart around it.

Monday night, we landed in Los Angeles. The kids and I were giddy with anticipation. I couldn’t wait to show them our house. I drove one of our rental cars out of LA like a pro. I was so proud of myself. We’d heard there were some wildfires not terribly far away, but we’d been traveling all day. We hadn’t checked the news. It wasn’t until the kids were tucked into their new beds, that Todd and I learned of the Thomas Fire. It had started that very night. We could see it from the house.

We figured out we were outside the evacuated area at that point. I reminded myself God hadn’t brought us this far to abandon us. We had just finally drifted off to sleep when the Emergency Alert screamed on both our phones. I jumped out of bed, ready to go, but we were still not being evacuated. We tried to sleep again, but it would turn out to be a restless night. I woke often, grabbing my phone and checking for updates. I didn’t know where to find the latest information. My mind was disoriented—fuzzy with sleep. I wasn’t sure where our house was in relation to the street names I was reading.

Overnight, the fire exploded to 25,000 acres. Thousands had been evacuated. By Tuesday evening, it was twice that size. Wind and smoke had kept us inside the house most of the day. It’s amazing how small 2000 square feet can seem when you’re cooped up in it with three energetic children. In the late afternoon, the smoke cleared enough to walk to the beach.

I already wrote about this on Instagram—the juxtaposition of joy and grief. I watched my children run and play, their ecstasy bubbling up from the depths of their souls. I also watched the smoke to our north float out over the ocean, lending an ethereal splendor to the sunset. My heart ached at the beauty and the loss.

Wednesday morning, the fires raged on.

Why? I asked, a little angry now. Why did this have to happen right when we got here? This isn’t how I wanted this week to go. I thought everything would be new and thrilling!

I felt sorry for myself for maybe a minute. First of all, my home is intact. More than that, though, I couldn’t shake the peaceful assurance that God was not surprised by this. Our arrival the very night the fire began was not a coincidence. The entire six months we spend here, Ventura will be recovering from this disaster.

I don’t know what it is yet—I’ve wised up too much to try to guess—but I know God has a plan. I know He brought us here for a purpose.

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just to frolic in the sunshine.


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