Oh Mondays, how often I despise thee, ruiner of weekends.

But Monday is not all bad.  Especially when it starts out with fresh fruit and yogurt for breakfast.  Yet somehow the day always seems to go awry.  Didn’t my day see my schedule and know how to respond properly?  My day never goes as planned.

My life never goes as planned.

And that can be quite upsetting.

Let’s imagine for a moment.  Let’s imagine a bright young freshman new to college planning on becoming ________.  And merely for the sake of saving me the headache of using gender-neutral language, we are going to make our freshman a girl named Joanna.  (And no, this is not based on me.)  Joanna plans her days precisely with every minute accounted for.  Just one problem–nothing goes as planned.  The crowd going from one building to the next at the change of the hour delays Joanna from her routine by 3 minutes.  She loses her pencil, can’t find paper for a pop quiz, and fails the pop quiz even though she studied.  She goes to lunch which has run out of the vegetarian pasta she’s fond of.  Her homework lasts longer than planned.  Required extracurriculars eat away her spare moments and soon she’s face down asleep at 10 p.m.  Her day did not follow the schedule.  Soon, her entire life follows suit.  What happened to the perfect 4.0 GPA?  The stunning boyfriend with sparkling white teeth?  The orderly progress of life with college, career, marriage, job, children?  What happens when you don’t land that job?  When there is no boyfriend?  No job?  No kids?

Whatever stage of life you’re at, you know you can’t control life’s events.  Despite our best attempts to regulate everything to fit into our pre-designed grid of life, we fail.  To stretch a pithy saying if life is not about the moments you are given but what you do with those moments–then life is not about the events that happen to you but how you respond.

James 1 details encouragement to Christian brothers and sisters who are going through some rough stuff.  Worse than a normal Monday by far.  But James says for Christians to be thankful when they endure trials because they are learning patience.  My pastor spoke on this passage the other night–that oh so glorious Sunday.  He said that when trials come into our lives it’s a chance to grow closer to God or to sin by despairing.  We can turn to God and say, “Okay, Lord, show me how to respond.  Show me what you’re doing in this.”  Or we can maniacally try to control everything in our own strength or give up or throw a fit and say it isn’t fair.  But God is constantly putting His children where He wants them so He can mold them into the image of His Son (check out Romans 8).

So the next time you’re desparing about your Mondays or your upset life plans in general, if you know Christ, know that God is simply putting you where He needs you to be at the exact right time.  There’s something to learn.  So open your eyes.  Pray.  And remember there’s something better in store.

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