I thought I had a good plan!
As we started on a journey to Mulberry, Florida some years ago, I thought I had all the details worked out. I knew it would be a long drive and not much time to relax, but the purpose for going was good and sincere, so I was determined that we would make the trip. Since I had to wait for my wife and daughter to get off work, we did not get to leave until about seven o’clock in the evening. My plan was to drive four hours, spend the night in a motel and go the rest of the distance on Saturday morning. We could then get to the funeral in Mulberry in plenty of time, leave shortly afterwards and get back home before too late on Saturday night so I would be nice and fresh and ready to preach the Sunday morning sermon. .
With every detail carefully thought through, it was off to Florida we went–Gale, Jessica and me!
The trip went well for the first several hours; we got through Ocala and I decided it was time to get some rest for the night. Since Interstate 75 has no shortage of motels, I had my pick–so I picked one. When I got out and noticed the attendant was on the telephone as the customer ahead of me was waiting, I suspected something was not normal; when she looked at me and silently conveyed with her lips that she had no room, I started to get concerned. Then when the second place down the street had the same sad news, my concern intensified–but it was too early to give up. When I stopped the third time further south I was told that because of the Strawberry Festival in Plant City and some other event in the area, there were no rooms available along the interstate between Gainesville and Sarasota! At that moment I knew I was in trouble. I had two tired women in the car, it was after midnight, and there was no room in the inn! I figured we could sleep in the car and decide how to get dressed the next morning–but since I grew up with three sisters, raised two daughters and now have granddaughters I have a firsthand understanding that ladies and no facilities are a deadly combination for a man! The car was not a realistic option for a sleepover.
Finally, after leaving the interstate and going twenty-five more miles to Mulberry, I found a place that had a room! But not so quick to rejoice–there was a catch. It only had one bed, and there were three adults in my group. What do you say at one o’clock in the morning to an offer like that? I did what any wise man would do–I took it.
While things did not go as I originally planned, it all turned out just fine. We survived the night, had plenty of hot water for the morning, we were able to share our love with the family we went to see, and hopefully we did not catch any parasites from the cheap motel room. We got back home safely and I delivered the Sunday morning sermon as scheduled.
Things do not always go as we plan, but God is always in control. I like what Romans 8:28 says: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (New International Version).
Maybe I should call ahead for a room next time. But knowing me, I probably won’t.