I’ve been working on my rewrite, that’s right
I’m gonna change the ending
Gonna throw away my title
And toss it in the trash

So begins the song “Rewrite” on Paul Simon’s latest album, So Beautiful or So What.  Simon cleverly utilizes the metaphor of an aspiring author rewriting a story as a reminder that we have the ability to make decisions and exercise choices that can alter outcomes in our lives.  We don’t have to be imprisoned by a predetermined storyline or typecast as a victim of circumstance; we can elect to change the ending; then, change it again if necessary.

Life throws unanticipated curve balls at us that can knock holes in our plans, hopes, dreams, and timetables.  We can either view these experiences as debilitating defeats or accept them as challenges to adapt, roll with the punches, and adjust to a new course.  Scripture teaches us not to have a locked-in vision of the future as though we could pre-cast it in bronze.  We cannot arrogantly boast about tomorrow as if it were already in our possession, much less count on what that tomorrow will look like if and when it gets here.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)

“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.  You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’  But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” (James 4:14-16)

When the apostle Paul first wanted to preach the Gospel in the Roman province of Asia, he was forbidden to do so by the Holy Spirit.  Plan B was to head to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus nixed that option as well.  Rather than pouting or throwing up his hands in frustration and discouragement, Paul remained open to Plan C and responded positively to an “invitation by vision” to head to Macedonia.  Plan C resulted in Paul powerfully and effectively proclaiming the story of Jesus in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth.  And the province of Asia?  God’s answer wasn’t “never,” just “not now.”  A subsequent mission tour allowed him to spend three years there, ministering in the city of Ephesus. 

I have burned through Plans A, B, and C in my life and am steadily working my way down the alphabet.  I am 20-plus years behind on achieving the educational goals that I had laid out as a young man.  Various circumstances in my life did not work in favor of reaching those goals by this point.  So, am I undone by this?  No.  In fact, I may be back in the classroom part-time this fall.  The possibility of being twice the age of my teacher doesn’t deter me.  Who knows?  There may be a fellow student in need of counsel from a “father figure,” and I’ve got just enough gray to qualify!   

12 years ago, I had a 30-year ministry plan for the future.  I “knew” exactly what I was going to be doing and where I was going to be doing it.  The table was set, or so I arrogantly assumed.  But, things didn’t continue according to “my” plan.  When that happens, one only has a couple of options: assume a fetal position and wallow in self-loathing defeat, or adapt, adjust, and optimistically press on.  

I have chosen the latter.  I’m working on my rewrite.      

I’ll eliminate the pages
Where the father has a breakdown
And he has to leave the family
But he really meant no harm

Gonna substitute a car chase
And a race across the rooftops
When the father saves the children
And he holds them in his arms