Not What We Had Planned

By: Dr. Jeff Fuller

Holidays do not always turn out as we had planned them.  We plan for “Joy to the World…”  “Peace and glad tidings…”  Sometimes, it just does not happen that way.

Not all holidays are celebratory times.  Not all holidays are times of great joy and happiness.  Some holidays are consumed with pain and sorrow; others come with vengeful reminders we live in a world which is imperfect, brutal, unforgiving.

Such the holiday season of 2017 was for many, many people.

While many were getting ready for the annual visit of Santa Clause…

While families were preparing for visits to family members homes for Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations…

While individuals were readying the kitchen, and mixing and baking and cooking with smiles…

While brave individuals were enjoying the hunting blinds…

While these and much more were going on around the nation, there were families in mourning.  They were attending to the needs of families as they made plans due to events taking place for which they had no control.

A couple on their way to Mississippi from Georgia encountered a life changing accident.  The 87-year-old passenger died; the 83-year-old driver broke his shoulder.  Yet, his heart was broken over the death of his wife.

A 20-year-old young man crashed into a disabled Peterbilt tractor trailer.  He died; his passenger was taken to the hospital.

These two accidents happened in Coosa County, which impacted the lives of families from many parts.  Yet there were other families which experienced death, sickness, sorrow, hopelessness and heartaches during the holidays.

In Blount County a couple is missing and their 17-year-old [son] is in jail for murder and robbery.  While there are no bodies, the authorities have strong evidence this young man may have done harm to his family members and attempted to dispose of the bodies. [On January 3, the bodies of the two adults were found around Sims Road in Blount County, wrapped in plastic bags and buried in a shallow grave.  Three individuals have been arrested, along with the son and are being charged with murder.]

Also in Blount County, approximately ten days before Christmas, an 18-year-old boy went missing.  A young man who loved staying in contact, checking on his sickly father, and worked a job went missing without picking up his check or checking in with his employer.  For days there was no contact, no word, with his cell phone off.  The family was trying to make contact, trying to find the boy but to no avail.  Sleepless nights, worried days consumed family and friends.  On December 25 the deputies located his car in a very rural area…and his body.

Such things were consuming my mind over this holiday season.  Much pain as I prayed, comforted, consoled those who reached out to me during these events (and even other things going on during such a “joyful time”); but then my thoughts turned to the coming of the day we celebrate the greatest present ever given and the new year to come.

God gave Jesus, born in a manger as a peace offering.  Jesus was to come to be the Savior of the World, reconciling man with man and man with God.  Through His birth in a manger, His message and life, His death and His resurrection, His ascension and His soon return He gives us hope and help in a world which is marred and scared by the curse of sin and rebellion.  Additionally, He-that is God, the Father-reminds us He has a plan and His plan is to work things out for His good and to honor Him. (Romans 8:28)

I will leave you with these words of Holy God to Isaiah:

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.’ ⌊This is⌋ the LORD’s declaration. ‘For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8-9 HCSB)

This article was in the Coosa County News in January 2018.  It is reprinted here for a reminder that God has everything in His hands and He knows the hurts and heartaches you are enduring as you encounter life on a day-to-day basis.


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