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The Ninth Beatitude

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.”

No, you won’t find this beatitude in your Bible; I’m borrowing the phrase from a former mentor. However, before you throw me out on my ear for introducing new Scripture, the theological truth behind this fictitious beatitude is thoroughly biblical. We serve a sovereign God, one who made everything and causes everything to work according to his plan (Ps 115:3; Ps 135:6; Prov 21:1; Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11). There never has been and never will be a time when God’s plans are forced to change.

We, however, aren’t so blessed. We don’t know what’s going to happen five minutes from now, let alone tomorrow. Unless we hold our plans with an open hand, we’re going to get some serious wrist damage when God takes our plans and gives us something unexpected.

This truth was beaten into our brains over and over on the San Antonio mission trip. It ended up drizzling/pouring four days out of five during the VBS, and on Wednesday, we had to cancel VBS because of the rain and lightning. The door hangers we were supposed to distribute to the local community on Monday and Tuesday after lunch didn’t arrive until late on Tuesday. We had been planning on doing outreach in the afternoon Wednesday-Friday in the parking lots of several local shopping centers, but when Luke asked permission, we were denied everywhere.

It was a test. For his own good reasons, God cut and pasted and rearranged what we’d been planning. How would we respond? We could have been frustrated and disappointed; our agenda was wrecked. But God helped us realize that his agenda is what’s important – not our own. James gets at this in James 4:15, “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”

How do you respond when your well-laid plans suddenly turn topsy-turvy? God is more interested in making you humble and flexible than in checking off your to-do list. “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.”