A Southern Pastor Daily Devotional: It Isn’t Always In God’s Plan

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“It was just a part of God’s plan.”

Add those to the list of stupid things that well-meaning Christians say, but shouldn’t.

Bad things happen. Sometimes you do everything right, live your life with honor and kindness, and yet tragedy hits. It’s easy to blame yourself, and even easier to blame God.

For five years now, I have been a single mom. It isn’t easy. I get to savor all the wonderful moments of parenthood as my very own success, but I also have to face the trials alone. My son’s father doesn’t see him. That isn’t easy for a teenage boy. There are times when I fail as a parent, many times. I don’t know how to be a dad, and there are so many times that all a teenage boy needs is an understanding dad. We muddle through as best we can, but sometimes the pain of being a broken family is just too much to bear.

I have blamed God for allowing my family to fail. I have blamed him for not “fixing” my husband and bringing him home to us. God understood my pain and never left me, even as I pushed him away he poured Grace into my heart. See, God does’t make everything happen. My husband had his own demons to deal with, and he allowed the pain in his heart to pull him away from God. He made bad decisions, decisions that hurt others and were not a part of God’s will. And now we all suffer for it.

Last night I attended the visitation for a 16 year old girl who recently died in a car accident. Don’t tell me God willed that. He did not. But it happened. The road was slick, there was a heavy fog, and it happened. As I stood in that line, waiting to hug the family and offer my love, I realized two things:

  1. No matter what pain my son and I are currently enduring, no matter what trials I face as a parent today, I am so thankful that I have him, and that the trails are mine.
  2. God did not take the life of that beautiful girl, and he did not cause my husband to abandon his family, but in the midst of those and all tragedies, his Grace remains.

Today, I am going to hug my son and tell him I love him, and then I am going to say extra prayers for those who can’t do that because their child is gone. Then I am going to text my ex-husband and thank him for the gift of our son, and maybe I will tell him I love him, and remind him that God forgives him, and so do I…maybe…at least I will try. And tonight I will pray that God give me strength to face another day, to be a better parent, and to be a better Christian. And that no matter what events may alter my life, that he continue to pour out his Grace and mold my life into his ultimate plan.

God doesn’t make the bad things happen, but I am so thankful that he has an unlimited supply of beautiful backup plans.

Many Blessings.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. 12 When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me.


Melanie Tubbs is a professor, pastor, mother, Mimi, and true Arkansas woman. She lives with nine cats and one dog on a quiet hill in a rural county where she pastors a church and teaches history at the local university. Her slightly addictive personality comes out in shameful Netflix binges and a massive collection of books. Vegetarian cooking, reading mountains of books for her seminary classes, and crocheting for the churches prayer shawl ministry take up most of her free time, and sharing the love of Christ forms the direction of her life. May the Peace of Christ be with You.