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How Are Your Plans Going?
When it comes to your personal life are you a good planner? Do you enjoy making plans? In our family, we run the full spectrum. Some are meticulous planners and organize almost everything well in advance. When we go on vacation together, they’re the ones who research and plan out every restaurant and museum we’re going to visit and make reservations months in advance. Others in our family, not as much. Myself, I tend to be a little more on the spontaneous side. I’ve been known to call up friends or family at 4:00pm to see if they’d like to get together for dinner later that evening. Usually, they’ve already made plans.
Whether you’re the spontaneous type or not, most would agree that planning is important and we all need to do it. Benjamin Franklin was credited with the popular saying: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
So planning is a good thing especially if you don’t enjoy failure.
But – planning is not perfect. Plans can be flawed, circumstances can change and our plans can be frustrated. During covid, almost everyone’s plans had to change. None of us had factored in a pandemic. Major life events, weddings, vacations, family reunions, new jobs were all put on hold. Many are still finding it difficult to make plans with the increased level of uncertainty.
Those who make a career out of planning such as Project Managers, Wedding Planners, etc., would say that one of the keys to being a good planner is the ability to make adjustments to your plan, even on the fly.
Taylor Swift, who like many artists that make large scale plans for concert tours and who haven’t been able to tour since the pandemic, recently said:
“Just because you made a good plan, doesn’t mean that’s what’s gonna happen.”
Even the best strategies may not go according to plan because there are always unforeseen factors beyond our control. This line from an old Scottish poem says it best:
“The best laid schemes of mice and men, often go awry.”
In many ways, we are just like mice who are up against much larger external forces that could interfere with our plans. Often the success of a plan isn’t how well it was developed, it’s how well it was adjusted when things interfered and went awry.
The Ultimate Planner
When I look at God’s creation, I see an amazing planner who’s executed his plan for this universe flawlessly. Every element and detail is fine-tuned to sustain life on this planet. Everywhere you look, you see beauty and you see God’s love for us. In his plan, God saw you and I even before he created all of this:
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:4-5 MSG
God’s plan from the beginning was that we would be his family, enjoying a relationship with him. After sin came into the world and Adam and Eve left the garden, it seemed as if God’s plan fell apart. For thousands of years, it appeared like things on earth were only getting worse. Violence multiplying, the disastrous flood and Noah’s ark, further confusion and division with the tower of Babel, and the depravity and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are just few ways the plan appeared to go sideways very quickly.
As the ultimate adjuster, God has a way of making Plan B become Plan A and all of this was just setting the stage for Jesus to come to earth, die on a cross and restore us back to God’s family. In the same way, everything we see going on in the world around us today is setting the stage for Jesus’ Second Coming as he promised and for God’s original plan to be fulfilled.
The Plan Has Always Been Good
As a young man coming to faith in Christ in my teens, it was such an epiphany for me to realize that God loved me and had a plan not just for the whole world, but for my life. I was filled with such a sense of purpose that God had bigger things for me and I couldn’t wait to discover more of his plan. Like many others, this became one of my favourite verses:
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I’ve seen it happen many times with believers, including myself. As God gives us glimpses into his plan for us, we start off full of hope and excitement and ready to make it happen now!
Inevitably, things don’t go according to plan. They usually go sideways, they get delayed and they appear to fall apart. And instead of adjusting and adapting, we get impatient, discouraged and we get into trouble. In our frustration, we take back the reins and decide to start making our own plans again. And whether we admit it or not, even though we are Christians, we start excluding God from our plans.
Have you ever had someone make plans for you that didn’t involve your input? Or worse, have you ever had friends make plans that included everyone else but excluded you? I wonder if that’s how God feels when his children set about to make plans without involving him.
If this cycle isn’t broken, we could find ourselves wasting years chasing other pursuits and plans instead of following God’s will for our lives and in the end all we will have is frustration.
“The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; he thwarts the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart from generation to generation.” Psalm 33:10-11 CSV
James, the first pastor of the church in Jerusalem recognized this was happening within his own congregation – that people weren’t seeking God’s will in their planning.
“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, 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.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16
Just like those in James’ congregation, we can lose sight of who we are and whose we are and go about making plans without consulting the Lord.
That’s one of the reasons why we are currently in a season of 24/7 corporate prayer as a church. We recognize that we need God’s help to plan any transition out of covid and back to having in-person as well as online services. We invite you to join us as we pray and seek God together. Visit https://coastalchurch.org/24-7-prayer.
Remember, We Signed Up For This
When we first came to Christ, we agreed that we would follow Jesus and pursue God’s plan for our life. We accepted that God had a far better plan with far better insight than we could possibly have. We know that our life on earth is just a vapor that will vanish and only what is done in Christ will last forever.
Let’s renew our commitment to following God’s plan and seeking his will in all our planning.
1. Planning is important but almost always needs to be adjusted.
2. God is the ultimate planner whose plan for us is good.
3. Planning without including or consulting God is never good and leads to frustration.
4. When we came to Christ, we signed up to follow God’s plan and will for our lives.
If you’ve never received Jesus we would like to give you the opportunity to discover God’s plan for your life. We invite you to pray this prayer out loud:
“Dear God, I thank you that you love me and have a plan for my life. I believe Jesus died on a cross and rose again for me. I put my trust in Jesus Christ to come into life and make me a new person. Amen”
If you prayed this prayer, we would love to support you in this new life of faith. Click HERE for next steps.
Also, if the “Pray With A Pastor” button is visible on your screen, you may click now to pray with one of us and be encouraged in your next steps.