Years ago, a friend gave me a fridge magnet she said was perfect for me, “We plan; God laughs!” To be completely honest, the comment along with the magnet kinda ticked me off. And while I get the humor behind it now, at the time, the idea of God scoffing at me for the way I tried to order my day, my home, my children, and my life was anything but funny. It touched more closely to home than that.
I often wondered what God thought of me. And my conclusion was rarely positive.
I think about the disciples of Christ—all the followers, not just the famous 12. They dreamed of redemption alright—from the Romans! They felt their sins were covered by sacrifice and needed no more attention. Their eyes were on freedom from the oppression of others, not from within. They liked Jesus’ words, His voice of authority, His miracles, and His ability to gather the masses. They had big plans for Jesus. But it did not go the way they had figured.
One reason for the quick turn of allegiance from Monday to Friday of Passion Week was because they felt betrayed by Him. They began to realize He had no intention of doing what they wanted. Not because He didn’t love them or cared little for the situation they were in. His plan was bigger. And so very differant than they could have ever imagined. They grew angry and bitter in their disappointment.
Disappointment. We all have it in one way or another in one area of our life or another. We can also have anger and bitterness. We see it in others sometimes better than in ourselves. It’s the natural outflow from a heart not surrendered to God’s plan because it’s so busy asking questions of His concern and intent.
Doesn’t He see what’s going on?
Doesn’t He care?
Why doesn’t He step in and save this?
Am I not worth saving?
Is He upset with me?
Is He teaching me a lesson?
We are asked to trust in the Lord with all our heart. But I admit, it sure isn’t always easy to do! Why? Because we’re leaning on our own understanding. Of Him, of us, of the situation, of faithfulness [His and/or ours], of opinion, of false perceptions. He pretty much knew we would do that. Hence the second part of instruction in that Proverb not to lean there, but to lean into Him. Trust Him. Believe Him.
The verse following says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
He will make our path straight, not make our plan turn out.
So what does it mean to “acknowledge” God? Simply, it means “to know”. You trust the people you know the best, don’t you? I know I do. That’s the point He’s trying to make here. When we know Him well we can believe He is for us and trust His path is better than our plan.
And what’s a “straight path”? One that is pleasing or agreeable.
We have no idea what the end result would be of some of our own planned paths. But we are assured that the path He takes us on will be good. Our flesh wants to know. Our flesh thinks it knows what’s best. Only God really knows. We can choose to lament what we think we’ve lost or we can give thanks for Him stepping in to our situation to change things for us so we receive something better.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
I think it’s interesting to note that one of the most famous verses we cling to in times of difficulty mentions the plans He has for us. The word “plan” in the original Hebrew is defined “thought”. His thoughts toward you and I are for our welfare, our peace—a future full of confident expectation in His goodwill for our lives.
I don’t know about you, but I need that to sink deep down.
His plans for me are His thoughts toward me and they are good—full of peace, hope, joy, and promises fulfilled.
Where is your struggle? Is it in letting go of disappointment? Anger or resentment when you believe your plan’s been hijacked by another person or circumstance? Do you struggle with letting God call the shots of your life? Or, like me, is your belief in God’s opinion of you holding you back from trusting Him?
When it comes to plans or thoughts – yours or God’s – chime in! I’d love to hear from you!