Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
My dad taught us to “plan your work and work your plan” …but what happens when your plans go south or you get hit with unexpected challenges or delays? It’s good to have a Plan B and even a Plan C, but do we think to leave room for the Lord’s plans? Are we willing to write our plans in pencil while gladly handing the eraser to God? Better yet, do we take the time to factor God’s will (Word) into our plans at all?
Today’s passage reminds me of the teaching in the Book of James (Jas. 4:14-15) where he reminds the presumptuous plan makers that “you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” It’s so easy to take tomorrow for granted, so we should all make it a habit to say “God willing” every time we make a pronouncement about what we are going to do tomorrow…or next week…or next year.
Our plans are mortal, flawed, and earthly while His Purposes are eternal, perfect, and heavenly. The news makes it appear as if the world is spinning out of control, but God is still ruling the universe with His feet up and His purposes will prevail inside of and on top of and in spite of the news of the day. What Satan intends for evil, God uses for good (Gen. 50:20) and the Bible provides example after example. Joseph was sold into slavery and Jesus was hung on a cross…but the Lord’s purpose prevailed. Saul’s plan was to persecute and hopefully destroy the upstart Christian movement…but the Lord’s purpose prevailed and Saul became the most prolific author and missionary in Scripture.
Of course, it’s preposterous to think that any plan we can come up with would be better than the Lord’s purposes…but it’s not ridiculous to think that our plans can be a part of His purposes. The next time you create a plan or set a course of action, remember to ask if it aligns with God’s expressed will in the Bible. Will your plan have a Kingdom effect? Will you plan glorify His name in its intent and outcome? Is your plan in line with God’s clear moral teaching? Do your plans include an attitude of submission to God’s will? Then plan away and watch the Lord’s purposes prevail!