"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."
Since most of my book signings have been indoors or at businesses with wide, and typically Southern, porches where I can easily shelter myself and my novels should the weather turn inclement, I am not prepared for last Saturday's unpredictable drizzle at an outdoor fair and market in which I agree to participate. This is my first "contract" appearance; paying the fee means remaining at the venue from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon.
Had I checked the forecast? You bet! Before doling out the money the week of the fair, and right on up through Saturday morning, I check it. Partly sunny, it promises. No chance of rain.
When the first drops of mist begin to fall, I hastily dry the few droplets collecting on my displayed books, and drape my new and, fortunately, water-resistant table cloth over books, bookmarks, and business cards. Thankfully, my extra books are sheltered in bags under the table, and would be in jeopardy only if we have a gully-washer. But, how, I wonder, will the rainy weather dampen attendance at the fair? How in the world can I even sell the books to the brave souls who do show up if no one can even view them?
A women selling Avon products is two spaces away from me. We chat congenially before the rain starts. I tell her about my novels, and she shares how she recently moved here from California, and is back in the Avon business after taking a ten year hiatus. She introduces herself as Cheri, and I immediately am drawn to her bright smile and positive attitude. I know Cheri will be a terrific neighbor for the hours stretching before us. I'm feeling blessed.
Little do I realize just what a blessing she will be! When it's obvious the sprinkles aren't going to abate any time soon (oh, and it's cold, too, and I neglected to bring my jacket), Cheri, who is safely protected underneath a tent, calls out, "Martha! Grab your books and share my table. I don't need all this room."
"You mean it? Really? You are a lifesaver, Cheri!"
"Isn't that what we're supposed to do as Christians? Help each other out?"
"You are absolutely right about that," I say as I hastily begin to gather my wares and lay out my display in an abbreviated fashion on the half of the table she has generously cleared for me. "I just don't get this weather. If I'd suspected they'd be the slightest chance of rain, I'd never have planned on being here today."
"You know," Cheri wisely observes, "we can plan all we want, but God has the final say. I think this rain today is a reminder to us that He has the best laid plans, whether we think they suit our needs or not."
And, guess what? Because the Lord sent the rain, not only do Cheri and I have a spectacular day together, but I leave there in the afternoon knowing I've found a new friend whom I feel I've known my entire life. What greater blessing could there be?
Have you endured times when things looked bleak, yet God turned them into blessings?
Prayer: Father, may we always trust in Your perfect and best laid plans for our lives. When situations appear hopeless in the moment, may we turn to You in prayer for guidance and peace, knowing You have promised to give us hope and a future. In Jesus' name, amen.