All it took was a few basil plants to go to seed and self-sow their offspring on my patio. The cracks between the handmade concrete stones are filled with sand. A little potting soil has found its way into those crevices also, the result of months of housing several potted plants there.

“Life finds a way.” This quote from the movie “Jurassic Park” comes to mind as I witness the persistence of plants in this difficult spot.

The new basil plants grew up because I couldn’t bear the thought of destroying perfectly good basil, although I constantly have to sidestep these plants.

This week, inspired by my nephew Luke’s delicious pesto, I decided to make a chicken Alfredo with some of the lush green herbs, and in the process remove those silly looking plants before company comes on Labor Day weekend.

The Alfredo was good…..but it tasted lemony! Instead of regular basil, it was a lemon basil that had seeded itself between the patio stones. I had forgotten about purchasing some lemon basil at a local garden center last year!

It was an unexpected surprise, and turned out to be quite a treat!

What do we expect from God? From our church? From our faith in general?

Our culture will tell us one thing. It’s curious that we sometimes adopt ideas about religion from those that do not practice it nor even believe.

We expect a warm, fuzzy feeling all the time.

We expect our lives to be easier and more serene.

We expect not to ever have doubts, fears, or frustration.

God has better plans.

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NASB).

God made plans for his people when they were demoralized as captives in Babylon, and he has plans for us, too.

A common, unintentional way to thwart God’s plans is that we try to make our own plans work, no matter what. We need to look more carefully at what God might be doing with us, so that we can better access the “future and a hope” that he surely has planned to give us.

We get a glimpse of God’s eternal purpose summed up in Ephesians 3.

“This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).

Among other aspects of the plan, here are some that are stated in the chapter:

  1. The mystery was revealed to Paul (v. 3) and “when you read you can understand” (v. 4).
  2. “The Gentiles are fellow heirs” (v. 6).
  3. “The manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church” (v. 10).

God’s plan to reveal his will to man, and to extend his blessings far beyond the Jewish nation through the church, is just astounding. It was not what was expected at that time, and it surpassed the hopes of the disciples that Jesus would become an earthly ruler.

While there is no way to know what God’s plans and purposes are for us individually, we should keep in mind that they may be just as unexpected as my lemon basil. Whatever God has planned for us, you know it has to be good!

Now that I know that my basil is lemon-flavored, I will adjust the amount of lemon I put into any pesto I might make with it.

It wasn’t expected, but it is welcome! And it is — like God’s blessings — oh, so good!

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