Has God ever had the audacity to not follow the plans you have for your own life? It happens to me too.
Many frustrations in life stem, in part, from when Gods plan for our life, or Gods timeline, does not match that of our own desire.
I had a long, emotional talk with God in my prayer time tonight. That type of prayer time in which you feel the most connected to God. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, probably mostly due to my inability to get out of my own way and be still enough even in my prayer, but it happened tonight. I found myself repeatedly asking God:
Then, more passionately:
My Plans vs Gods Plans
I spent time this weekend planning out the rest of my year in detail. The little things. Booking hotels for some trips. Planning travel. Scheduling out some time this year to spend with family and friends. Then, I started to look at making plans beyond this year. Career wise, financially, I’ve got that all planned out. But all other areas of life, not so much. For the second time in the past few years, there seems to be a large gap between my plan and Gods.
The last time I had a big gap between my plans and Gods plans, it was entirely me not trusting in God and not being faithful to the things I knew he was commanding of me and not traveling the path he was calling me to follow. I saw his plans. But, I did not like them. So, I plotted my own path, often running nearside Gods path for me, but rarely on it. Eventually, I drifted in an entirely different direction. How do you think that worked out?
That was a time where the lesson to be learned was obvious. I had gone to God for guidance, he gave it to me, and I did not follow that. I find that somewhat easy to get over. God had a great plan, I knew he did, and I was the dummy who didn’t follow. It is not always easy to accept, but the lesson to be learned from it is obvious and the strength needed to regroup and move forward is minimal.
That is a type of divergence in the path that we’ve likely all experienced. Times when we know the path God wants us to take, or at least the general direction, and we decide otherwise because our own desires overpower our reason. I have experienced it several times before, in small and big ways. Though, a few years ago, it was the last time for me, and I am confident it will be the last time ever.
Since then, I’ve really learned to follow God’s path for me. For the last few years, I have been faithful to him. In a practical sense, the way God guides me is that when the thought of a certain option, choice, path comes into my mind, God will give me a feeling of complete peace with it, a feeling of complete trust in him. Some of you may feel God in that way. Some of you might hear him through scripture, or get signs, or literally hear him. For me, it comes in the form of complete peace with a decision.
God has been giving me clarity on the path he has wants me to walk down. I’ve been faithful to it. But here is the thing, it has not been working out to well. Not at all! I’ve had a year or two with more heartbreak, more setbacks, for disappointment, more challenges, and yet all while I am absolutely certain I am following the path God wants me to follow. How can that be?!?!
God’s Plan is not my Plan
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future
Gods plan is for us to prosper. Rejoice in that. However, it does not mean that Gods plan operates on our chosen timetable. It does not mean that every outcome we want along that path and as part of that plan will happen how we want it to. And, no matter how faithful we are to God, it does not mean we will get all the things we desire.
We will face disappointment. We will face struggles. We may feel devastated at times. But we have to understand that God’s plan is for us to prosper. It is natural to feel disappointment when your desires aren’t realized, when your plan fails, and what you hope for is not fullfilled. I feel all that. You’ve felt all that. We all face that. But here is the thing…
God has a better plan!
It would be wonderful if we fully knew God’s plan and we could see how it all ends with us prospering. Surely we’d skip along that path singing show tunes and be as happy and dandy as could be. But what faith would that take? Would hope would that take?
Mark 11:24 is a verse often quoted. The new age, progressive type “Christians,” the type that think believe in the secret or in the “think it into manifestation,” love to quote it. It reads:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Wonderfully motivating, right? Well, the missing part is that this is in accordance to Gods will. This verse does not stand alone as a statement unto itself. This verse is true when we are walking in sync with God and our desires match his desires for us, at which case anything we ask for, we will get.
Believing that God will answer our prayers in the specific way we want him to is not some cosmic spell we cast on God in some word of faith movement and magically we get exactly what we want. Our prayers must be with the right intentions and in accordance to God’s will. So, what does that necessarily mean when our prayers aren’t answered? It is because they aren’t asked with the right intentions, or that that aren’t in accordance to God’s will, and often both.
Often, it is not out of disobedience that our prayers aren’t aligned with God. We may be faithful. We may follow the path he has called us to. Though, we still will have our own desires. We will have things we want. Outcomes we want, and timelines in which we want those to happen. Despite our best efforts, we will put hope in our own desires. I have found that with myself this past year or so.
I’ve had pure intentions. I’ve tried hard to be in lockstep with Gods plan. But I have things I want. I have a timeline in my head of when they will happen. And most certainly, in these big dreams and desires, I am not wanting to experience heartbreak or disappointment, yet, I’ve faced it so often. I’ve allowed those disappointments to knock me down a few times. Though, I am back on my feet, following the path, moving forward. I know, no matter how it seems things are working out to my limited ability to understand Gods plan, Gods plan is for me to prosper.
So, back on feet, slowly, left foot, right foot, I walk on, down Gods path.
God Works for the Good
I leave you with Romans, my favorite book of the Bible. The first part of Romans 8:28 is often quotes itself. It reads:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
That, my friends, is comforting. No matter what we may battle, the disappointments, the pain and sadness along the path, God is leading us to good. But, quoting just that part of the verse, and part of the passage, leaves out even more good news. It reads in full:
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstbornamong many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined,he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Our victory is assured. Dude, we’ve already won the greatest prize ever! We just have to faithfully walk the righteous path. Yes, at times that is MUCH easier said than done. Sometimes we don’t even know if we are on the path, or we may feel the path is going in circle. Heck, we sometimes even forget what a path exists and we just start to wander. But trust that God will give you wisdom. Spend time in prayer. Get out of your own way and give God room to guide you. And, when his plan does not match with yours, and you feel disappointment, know that his plan for your life is for you to prosper and is better than any plan you could dream up on your own.
Run the good race. The prize is already yours.