After my detour post this morning, I scurried about doing my daily thing but the word “plan” got stuck. Something always gets stuck in this brain. I should see if something can be done about that….After all my “stuff” of the morning I came home and started a little researching.
Famous “plans” quotes (I’m sure you have heard all three of these!):
Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. – John Lennon
If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans. – Woody Allen
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry – paraphrase of the poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns
Wait a minute! All of those quotes indicate that maybe plans don’t always happen like we expect. What’s that all about? Thank you for the cheat sheet Mr. Lennon – life is what that is all about. Or is it something Bigger? Did Mr. Allen have the real answer?
Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Talk about nuggets! But my adventures took me to Proverbs 16 which comes with a heading of “Contrast the Upright and the Wicked” in my Bible.
1. The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
3. Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.
9. The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
Has anyone ever made plans for you but without you? Imagine the following conversation (which may or may not be hypothetical)
Person A: Hey! Did you pick up the present for the party?
Person B: What party?
A: The party at 5 on the other side of town.
B: I didn’t know there was a party today. And it’s in 4 hours? And I have to have a present?
A: Did I forget to tell you?
A: Hey, wanna go to a party at 5 on the other side of town? We need to grab a present if we are going. Think you could handle that while you are out running errands?
B: I’m sure we can pull it off. Meet you there?
A: Ok!……..Oh, any chance you could make the cookies too?
I suspect that sometimes God looks at us and feels very much like Person B. Hey God, will you make sure my promotion comes through quickly? But that’s not the job I have for you. God, when I’m done with the treatments for this illness, I would really like to get right back to training for that marathon. But I wasn’t planning on getting you through these treatments unscathed. Hey God, when the kids are all grown and I retire, will you make sure there’s a house at the beach for me? You mean that beach in Haiti, where you will be serving as a missionary? Sure!
Does this mean that we shouldn’t look ahead? Absolutely not! Look again at verse 3. Commit your works to the LORD. I have learned very slowly that when I seek God first, my plan lines up a whole lot better with His. When I look to His guidance, I get His plan first instead of making my own and having them adjusted for me.
And even when we DO get that backwards, we should not give up hope. One of my favorite “happy endings” of the Bible is Joseph’s story. After the whole coat of many colors, brothers threw me in a well, Potiphar’s wife hit on me, went to jail, worked for Pharoah, saved my brothers story, Joseph comes to the end. His father Jacob dies and after all the funeral hoopla, his brothers get nervous. Man, what if he was only being nice to us because Dad was still alive? What if he is free to get his revenge now? So they run to him and beg him to spare them and they pledge their allegiance.
Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I am so encouraged that I serve a God who will provide plans when I seek them, adjust my plans when they aren’t the best, and redeem my plans when I’m too stubborn to seek or submit.