Is there anything good about the number 3 anyway? They don’t call it an odd number without reason. It is the number they assign to strikeouts in baseball. If you are going to do something dangerous, scary or painful, it is the number you are going to go on. If you have this number of legs, arms, ears or eyes than you are a medical oddity. If you are the third person picked in the NFL draft no one remembers you. And it is one too many flights of stairs that any reasonable person would want to walk.
The reason it is in my head though is because it is the number constantly used when talking about how many years we plan to be in South Africa. It is the maximum number of years that we were able to get for our volunteer visa. It is the number we thought would be ideal for transition and establishment into a new culture. It is the number that we put out there for support raising from our partners. And it was the number we thought would be good to tell family and friends to not freak them out that we would be gone forever. And so with all that it is the number that is really starting to make me nervous. Am I holding too tightly to it? While it is the number in our heads and the heads of others we have no clue if it is in God’s plan. Maybe God has the number 10 in his plan. Maybe that is 10 days, 10 months or even 10 years. We don’t know. I have been working very hard on giving up everything I have and all that I am to Him and His plan, but this number seems to be one thing I find myself holding on to and for no good reason. I know God’s plan is always perfect. I have seen firsthand through this journey thus far that His plan is always better than any plan I put together. So what if his plan is to bring us home or elsewhere in just 10 months after getting to South Africa. Would we consider that a failure if we expected 3 years?
Jesus states in John 3:38, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
Not to do my will, but his. What my role is in the details of the plan to accomplish his will isn’t all revealed to me and it is not supposed to be. If it was I might not like it. No, my job is to try and faithfully align His will in my life in whatever circumstances he puts me and however long it takes. And I can’t do that if I am not willing to give up my own plan. I can’t do that if I am holding on to my own expectations or expectations of others.
So like other things before it I must officially release the number 3 from my plan. This isn’t to say that it won’t be in God’s plan for our lives, but if it is I want it to be because of him not me.
A prayer for us all:
God use us for your will. Allow us to sacrifice the things we hold fast to for comfort and convenience. May your plan be our plan. May we, to the best of our sinful abilities, serve you with all that we have and all that we are. We praise you for your works and may your name be glorified among the nations. Amen.