Years ago, when my husband and I first got married, we lived in this teeny, tiny second floor apartment. We could stand in the hallway and take one step in any direction and end up in a different room. It was perfect for us. After all, we were newlyweds. The last thing we needed at the time was space!
I had recently gotten my hands on a Kay Arthur book and when the alarm clock went off in the dark hours of the morning, I listened to my husband get into the shower and I decided to crack open the book. That day’s devotional was all about how to start the day right. She encouraged that all of us should pray before our feet even hit the floor and give the day to God. What a great idea! I glanced at the ugly, brown shag carpeting and realized I could still pull this off. My feet hadn’t touched the floor yet! So I laid there in the soothing glow of my lamp and prayed the prayer that she had suggested. When I was done, my day already felt better. My day was planned – and not by me! How cool is that?
Then I got an idea. (Did I hear you guys cringe? Stop that!) My husband spent a good amount of time every morning scraping the ice from his car and warming it up. What if Isurprised him and did that for him? I knew I only had a few minutes before he’d be done in the shower, so I decided to just get it started. With the engine and the heater running, there would be far less scraping for him to do! So I put on my sneakers and my robe and snuck out the front door in my jammies.
Two steps into the venture the world turned upside down. Literally. As soon as my feet hit the first step off of the porch, I was doing a pretty decent rendition of Daffy Duck on ice – sound effects and all. I flipped. I flopped. I spun. I turned. I landed in the snow at the bottom of what I found out later were freshly painted stairs.
As I lay there in the drift looking like a decidedly awkward snow angel, two things came to mind. 1: This wasn’t how I pictured the morning going and 2: SERIOUSLY? I just gave my day to God and then rolled down the stairs? What???!
After I fell, my husband called our landlords and told them what happened. That night they came to visit us. The landlady came in and clucked over my bandaged hand (I’d broken two fingers and lost a nail on another one!) and the fact that I couldn’t stand upright or walk without a serious limp. She said she felt horrible that I’d fallen and it was so bad, but they were sure it wasn’t because they had just repainted the stairs. They’d used that paint at several other locations and no one else had a problem. Just me.
I walked the landlady and her husband to the door. As she and I stood on the porch, we watched her husband’s feet fly out in front of him. He grabbed the railing and held on for dear life, but he could NOT get a grip on those stairs with his feet. It had rained while we were inside and the paint they had used was an oil based paint. Any liquid (snow or rain) would pool on top of the stairs and make them as slippery as a glaze of ice.
The next morning the stairs had wide black grippy strips – and so did every other location where they had used the paint.
I admit that I didn’t pray that prayer for a long time. After all, I had given my day to Him and taken a trip down the stairs because of it! But the reality is that the combination of my sneakers, the snow and the oil paint had pretty much made my fall inevitable. But knowing that I’d given the day to God before I fell was what made the difference. The Bible says that ALL things work together for the good of those that love Him. (Romans 8:28) Even falling down the stairs.
The rest of the years that we lived in that apartment, I was thankful for those strips on the steps. Each time I carried a laundry basket full of clothes down the stair to the washer or a load of groceries back into the house, I was thankful. Later, when I was pregnant, that increased a thousand fold. Each time the mail carrier delivered a package up the stairs or someone visited us, I was grateful and thankful for those strips.
As painful as it had been to ‘daffy duck’ my way down the stairs, I was truly and deeply glad that God had allowed it to happen to me at that time and not someone else or even later when I was pregnant.
God knows what’s going to happen in your day. Right now He knows what every one of your tomorrows will hold. You can either try to do it on your own, or you can give it to Him and trust that even if it’s painful, He’s got a bigger and better plan than anything you could imagine.