How often do you make plans? I can safely answer that question for you – every single day. Planning is a regular part of life and we can’t escape it. Be it something as small as what we will eat tonight or something as big as the person we will marry. Whatever it is, we all make plans. As the old saying goes, “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” No matter how you interpret that, it speaks to the fact that we all make plans.
Let me ask you another question: how often do your plans work out? If you are anything like me, sometimes your plans come to fruition and sometimes they don’t. I can’t give you percentages, I just know that sometimes things happen just as I envisioned and sometimes they don’t. I have yet to meet a person whose plans work out 100% of the time. If you know of such a person, please let me know, I would like to meet them.
Lately, I have been meditating on Proverbs 16, a chapter that has much to say about planning. Check this out:
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:1) “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble” (16:3-4) “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (16:9) “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” (16:31)
As you read these verses, it is impossible to escape the sovereignty of God. Yes, we all make plans, but those plans are always subject to the will of God. Maybe that is why Jesus taught us to pray “your will be done.” (Matthew 6:10) By praying in that manner, we are acknowledging that God is in control.
Those of you who are familiar with the apostle Paul’s letters will be able to make this connection. Paul often made plans to visit a city or group of Christians and sometimes his plans came to pass, while other times they didn’t. He writes, “This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.” (Romans 15:22-24)
Paul was just like anyone else – he made plans. He knew better than anyone that those plans were subject to the will of God. We are not entirely sure if he made it to Spain, but we do know that he made it back to Rome. More importantly, we do know that God guided Paul exactly where He wanted him to be.
Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that we stop planning. That would be impossible. However, I am suggesting that we submit ourselves to the sovereignty of God. Give your plans over to God, and rest in the knowledge that He will do what’s best. Remember, “Commit you’re your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3) This will require faith on your part, but that’s a good thing. God is constantly working to build faith in His children. And know that if you are a genuine follower of Christ, you can rest in the knowledge that God will take care of you. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)