We all know the “correct” answer here. Isaiah 55 answers this question directly: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
So why do I live as if my plans are better than the Lord’s plans?
As we looked at in our last post, we all struggle in life when our plans go off-rail. We get detoured. We experience setbacks. This is painful for us, but one of the reasons is actually a positive and encouraging reason: Sometimes my plans go off-track because God’s plans are bigger than my plans.
Does this mean that God makes things go off-track in order to point a finger at me and teach me a lesson? Well, He certainly might be trying to teach me something. But not because of anger or punishment – He teaches us because He loves us (Rev. 3:19).
Does this mean that I should never bother to plan anything, because God is simply going to do what He is going to do? Nope. God grows us through our active involvement in his plans, and his plans for the world’s redemption are accomplished through the Church – through people just like you and me. James provides a good perspective in James 4:13-15. We ought to approach life making our plans but never putting our faith in our plans. Rather, we put our faith in God, saying “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
The biggest encouragement and hope that I find when life is taking a painful detour is to be reminded of God’s character.
I can trust that his plans are good because He is good. He is wise, all-knowing, all-loving, and abundantly faithful. The more that I rest in who He is, the better I can handle the setbacks and detours of life.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This does not mean God is promising a happy and easy life to Christians. But it does mean that He is working, and that his purposes will be accomplished. Since He is good, since He is loving, that is exactly the purpose and plan that I want fulfilled. Praise be to God.
p.s. If you are interested in a deeper dive into God’s character, I would recommend two new books by Jen Wilkin, both easy to read and very helpful: None Like Him and In His Image.