Messed-up plans? No, providence.

This is a rambling post, you’ve been warned!

Last Monday, I clocked off earlier than usual (I’m doing an internship that I’m not enjoying very much). I decided to drop by a supermarket to get the supermarket-brand cereal I love. From there, I had to catch a bus home. The easiest way would have been for me to take the metro, but I didn’t particularly feel like descending underground. The only bus that directly connects the supermarket area and the bus I need to take pulled away from the stop as I waited for a green light to cross the road. The next one would be a while, and I wasn’t feeling patient either. Thus, I found myself taking an unfamiliar bus, number 542.

I soon realised that I’d been mistaken as to the bus’s route. I later realised that I must have confused it with number 545, which I’d used once or twice before. 542’s last stop was on Via della Lega Lombarda, which fortunately wasn’t too far from my bus at the Tiburtina Station (it took me less than ten minutes to get there).

Fast forward to today morning. The bus I catch from behind my house was some 10-15 minutes late. The next one was in an hour’s time, and I wasn’t too happy about that (understandably). Anyway, it finally came and I got on. Some stops later, a man with a motorcycle and a boy hailed the bus. The man explained to the driver that he’d found the boy walking along the road (which, by the way, has no sidewalks) on his way home. The youngster (12 years old) lives in Rome and goes to school in Guidonia, but unknown to him, school was closed today. The man asked the driver to give the boy some directions to help him get to Rome.

The boy sat across from the other passenger on the bus, an elderly woman. She began to ask him questions in order to try and find out how he could be helped. When asked where he lived he said, “Via della Lega Lombarda.” (Coincidence?) All three adults agreeed that I’d accompany him since I was the only one going to Rome.

So, here I was, with my plans messed up. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t exactly enjoying myself at the internship, and so a delay in getting there wasn’t entirely unwelcome. More than that, however, I was reminded of two things I recently blogged about. How Jesus often allowed interruptions in His life, for example in attending to the woman with the issue of blood while on His way to Jairus’ home. How one of the reasons Christ died was to redeem a people eager to do good works. Here was a chance for me to put my faith to work.

Something else came to mind later when I was on my own. Not two weeks ago I listened to The Silent Sovereignty of God, by Tim Keller. Yesterday, I’d been in one of my self-pity moods (16 months since graduation, yet still unemployed, etc, etc), and this was a gentle reminder that He’s working out things behind the scenes. On Monday when I was irritated and panicked at having made a mistake, and today when I was irritated at the bus’s delay, I certainly didn’t recognise God’s working. (Why, His plans for today go back years to my getting hooked on the supermarket-brand cereal, that I just had to have.) But He was there. Thank God He messed up my plans twice in the same week to remind me this truth.

The Bangladeshi boy and I parted ways at Tiburtina station. Once he saw a familiar road, he was off like a bullet. I never even asked his name…