How do you cope or help others cope when life does not turn out like you were expecting? That’s the theme of Pete Wilson’s recent book, Plan B: What to Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would. It happens to us all at times. A marriage goes sour. A career opportunity doesn’t materialize. A sickness or failure scuttles our life plans. A long-term dream is shattered. In times like these, when our hopes fail to materialize, we revert to a Plan B. This book’s author (that’s him in the picture) is a young pastor – unpretentious, honest, realistic. He tells stories about people he knows and brings in a few Bible characters. And he gives down-to-earth suggestions for recovering and thriving when our A plans collapse:
- When plans shatter, face reality. Don’t run. Expect to be afraid and confused as you face the unknown.
- Try to step back from the chaos. Last month a friend hit a major Plan A collapse. At my invitation he dropped everything, drove 500 miles to my house and spent a few days to clear his thinking, pray, grieve, and let the reality sink in. Often this is needed before we start making alternative plans.
- Recognize that probably you’re not in control of the circumstances. But you can control how you respond. And you need to recognize that God is present and in control. This realization may take time, reflection, prayer, Bible reading and support from others. Usually it involves the recognition that God does not always think and respond like we expect or hope.
- Plan B situations tempt us to withdraw but we need community more than ever. Also, we need to be authentic before we can experience authentic community.
- Ponder this: Plan B difficulties….can deliver us from our delusions, our misguided expectations, our egotistical dreams, and deliver us into the actual presence of the God who is our only hope.
- There are two different types of hope. “One is hoping for something, and the other is hoping in someone.” God does his best work in hopeless situations.