I helped my youngest daughter plan a party for my oldest. We took every precaution we could think of in the season of COVID. We held the event outside and included a request on the invitation that everyone wear masks and come and go to avoid too many people gathering at once. Our party favors were customized masks and hand sanitizers. Lunch was catered, packaged in individual containers. And we had cupcakes and cookies made, which we also wanted individually packaged, but that would fall on us to do.
I ordered plastic cupcakes holders I thought would be cute and functional. My daughter ordered bags for the cookies but was concerned the icing would smudge, so she ordered small boxes as a backup.
We picked up the goodies and spread out the options at my house the night before the party. We washed our hands and started with our original plan. I put a cupcake in a plastic dome. She put a cookie in a bag. She was right: the icing smudged. Plan B: Put the cookie in the box. But it looked too small in the box. Plan C (which wasn’t really a plan until we were problem-solving on the spot): Would the cupcake and cookie both fit in the box? It wasn’t a perfect fit, but it looked pretty. Plus, we could place the boxes in shallow plastic tubs (which I had bought early in the week to have “just in case” we needed a couple extra containers—good thing!) for easy travel. I am pretty sure the cupcakes would not have faired well if I had gone with my original plan.
It didn’t take long to package and prepare the goodies, but in the end, we only used one packaging option yet opened all three, making it impossible to return anything. We’re fairly confident we’ll eventually use all the options, especially in these days of extra precautions due to COVID. To be honest, many of the precautions we’re taking are probably wise to continue just about any time anyway. I’m glad we were prepared with several options even if we didn’t use them all.
That’s how preparedness often works. Of course, we can’t think of every option. We’ve all been surprised by things and had to problem-solve, improvise, and in some cases, simply survive through a challenge. Not all the challenges we face are as inconsequential as cupcakes and cookies. There are times we determine the way we’ll approach something, but it doesn’t work quite the way we expect—like cookies and cupcakes. But we can either stubbornly commit to our own plans and refuse a better option or be flexible enough to consider additional options, even at the last minute, are still a kind of preparation—or at least provision.
When we trust God, we learn that preparation and provision go hand in hand. Sometimes it seems he is preparing us for something then provides; other times, it seems he is providing in ways we can’t seem to understand but learn along the way that his provision prepares us for what comes next.
His provision and preparation is abundant, above and beyond how I felt surrounded by a plethora of cookies, cupcakes, and packaging options.(By the way, those sweets were a delicious addition to the party, and I’m glad we didn’t ruin them somehow!)