Man Plans his Way, But the Lord Establishes his Steps

Last week Steph and I planned a surprise for the kids. A friend of ours owns a plane and a (small) airport, and we decided to take them flying. I will save you all the details, but in the end things didn’t work out. We had only told the kids shortly before we left home and not surprisingly, they went from being super excited to being seriously disappointed. Thankfully they got over it quickly and we were able to do some exploring as a family on a gorgeous evening.

As you know, things don’t always work out as planned. If there was a ever a year in recent history where the world has learned this, it would have to be 2020. From things as big as the 2020 Olympics, to something as small as your weekly Bible study getting cancelled, this has been a year of unfulfilled plans. Governments, corporations, businesses, sports leagues and churches have had to radically change plans in order to adjust the Coronavirus pandemic.

What a great reminder to Christians that we are not in control. As the Proverb puts it, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). As human beings, we will never stop making plans, but perhaps a lesson for us is to hold our plans lightly. Here is how the letter of James explains it: 13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

How many plans are made without regard for the will of the Lord? Far too many. In our arrogance, we plan as if we know exactly what will happen. Thankfully, God has a way of humbling us. That is why we must always keep in mind those words from James, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Every time that we pray the Lord’s Prayer, that is, in fact, what we are saying and asking for. We begin by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” Then we say, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). We could all sit around sharing countless stories of times where our plans failed to come to fruition. Thankfully, God is still on His Throne, and “The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:11 NIV). What a comfort that is to every Christian.

As you look ahead to the future, don’t stop making plans. Rather, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act” (Psalm 37:5). When we give our plans over to the Lord, we are in the safest place in the world. We don’t have to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:25-34), and we can rest easy knowing that the will of the Lord will prevail. Praise God!   

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