I've been thinking alot about plans lately.
Maybe this is because I've been doing a lot of "planning"...Planning for Christmas, for the new year, for next summer’s vacation, for work, for the boys, for my future retirement...And the list could go on and on.
Or maybe it is because lots of my own plans have not exactly worked out of late...Take my plans for Saturday evening supper, for example. I wanted to invite someone over and I planned an elaborate meal, the activities for the evening, everything. And when that person couldn't make it, I became upset. Yes, maybe I was even a bit upset at that person, even though the reason for not coming was an absolutely good and understandable one...Why? Because my precious plan couldn't come to fruition.
Yes, I have to admit that I do tend to get upset when my plans don't work out. It's probably the element of "control" that I continually battle...But if I am perfectly honest with myself, when my plans do work out, they are never as fulfilling as I anticipated they would be...
Does this mean we shouldn't make plans? The world's wisest man has a few words of wisdom to shed on the topic: "There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord's counsel--that will stand." (Prov 19:21).
In other words, it is human nature to plan, so no, our planning is not a wrong thing. Nonetheless, as we make our long list of plans, we need to realize Who is in control. Despite how much our human natures' desire to be in control, it isn't us: It's God! He is in total control, and His plans are always best.
Even when those plans include a walk through the valleys of life.
Should we become angry or stressed when our own plans are brought to a screeching halt by a medical diagnosis? By a death in the family? By the loss of a job or a home? By relationship problems? Or by any of the other myriad of things that can stop our plans?
Not at all. After all, though we make see ourselves as such, we are not all-wise or all-knowing. Those self-same plans that look so perfect from a human perspective may have huge flaws that we cannot see. Only God's plans are perfect for He sees the end from the beginning.
And sometimes those plans bring us through the valleys of life...
We need to make plans, yes. But when we make our plans, we need to follow the advice given to us by Jesus’ brother, James: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'" (James 4:13-16).
To us, the worst thing that could ever happen is a bad medical diagnosis or death or the loss of a job or a home. From God's perspective, however, these are nothing but little valleys, valleys that He is very much prepared to not only carry us through, but also to use to shape us into better people along the way. And if we let Him carry us through, in the end, we, too, will be able to say, "Thank You, God, for this u-turn from our own plans, for Your plans are not only the best, but they are the only ones that will always stand!"
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.