Last week I joined a few friends at the theater to watch the movie, Unplanned. It is the true story of a woman who devoted her life to Planned Parenthood for eight years before recognizing their twisted ways and resigning from senior leadership. The film reveals the anguish of unplanned pregnancy, the burden of unplanned duties, the gift of unplanned friendship, and the hope of unplanned forgiveness and grace.
Everyday we face unplanned events and encounters. Some of the unplanned create stress, conflict, and burdens: a medical diagnosis, disagreements with family members or friends, pressing work deadlines, car trouble, stormy weather, company layoffs, church closures, or financial burdens.
Other unplanned phenomena reveal hope, joy, and excitement: a doctor’s prognosis, authentic dialogue with family or friends, work extensions, alternative modes of transportation, blue skies and sunny days, new employment, church plants, or financial freedom.
Although much in life seems unplanned to humankind, God remains purposeful, redemptive, and pure in all His plans. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of this reality: “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.”
Additionally, verses such as Psalm 33:11; “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” and Proverbs 19:21; “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” reiterate the trustworthy and strong care of our sovereign God.
- Unplanned by Moses, God would raise Him up to be the deliverer of His people from slavery under Pharaoh in Egypt (Exodus 3).
- Unplanned by Bathsheba, God would restore her honor as she sat at the right hand of her son, Solomon, the king of Israel (2 Kings 2:19).
- Unplanned resistance to bring the gospel to Asia, God would redirect Paul and his companions to the receptive people of Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10).
- Unplanned by Esther, God would make her queen to save the Jewish people from horrible destruction (Esther 2:19, 8:11).
What other unplanned (from human-perspective) stories from the Bible come to your mind? Ponder God’s faithful presence and great intention. These true stories encourage faith and trust in God even when our own situations might cause us to feel disorientation, pain, and stress.
While the Bible abounds with examples of the exchange between what was unplanned by man to the redemptive plan of God, history reveals story upon story of God working through the unplanned events and encounters of people.
- Jim Elliot’s unplanned death brought an entire tribe to repentance.
- Joni Erickson Tada’s unplanned diving accident led to a worldwide ministry serving the disabled.
- Chuck Colson’s unplanned criminal actions birthed Prison Fellowship which serves the incarcerated around the globe.
What is the unplanned in your life? Do you notice God’s redemptive movement? Sit in silence with the steadfast love of God and ask Him to show you His plan within the unexpected of your life.
My unplanned cancer led to God’s plan for me to experience more of His presence and transforming movement in my life. God was present with me in the pain of the unplanned heath assessment. He met my fears, confusion, and physical exhaustion with His hope, peace, and spiritual strength.
Scripture comforts us by telling us God “puts our tears into a bottle,” or as another translation states; He records our misery and lists our tears on His scroll; they are all in His record (see Psalm 56:8). Whether God collects our tears or writes them down, He must be present to witness them. God is with us in the planned as well as the unplanned events and encounters of life. His presence neither hides from our pain, nor only celebrates the happy, positive aspects of life. Through both, the Sovereign Lord is with each of us!
Where do you notice God’s presence and peace in the pain of the unplanned of your life?
How will you let God enter into the unplanned you encounter?
For the protagonist in the film, Unplanned, God worked through an unplanned experience in which she assisted in a procedure to open her eyes. God’s plan for healing, wholeness, and freedom often begins with an unplanned occurrence. Look for the redeeming hand of God within the unplanned moments of life.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Abby Johnson. Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line. Carol Stream, IL, 2011.
Charles F. Stanley. God Has a Plan for Your Life: The Discovery that Makes All the Difference.Nashville, TN. 2008,
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
April 9 – Lakewood, CO
Rekindle your Soul – MOPS at The Bridge at Bear Creek