Don’t answer too quickly. Of course we all know the “right” answer. We all know that God’s plan is better than our plan and that His ways are higher than ours. We know the right answer in our head, but let’s be honest – it’s not always easy to believe it, is it?
What happens when your plans get changed against your wishes? When the thing you planned for doesn’t happen the way you want it to or in the timing you need? What happens when our perfect plan is turned upside down by God against our wishes? What then?
All week I’ve been talking about God’s dream for our lives and how to go about discovering that dream and making it a reality. But I realized that some of you aren’t convinced that you want God’s dream. You aren’t convinced that God’s plan for your life is better than yours. What then? Why should I pursue something that I am not convinced is in my best interests?
I wish I could say that God’s plan will always makes sense, but it doesn’t.
I wish I could say that God’s plan will always makes us feel good, but it doesn’t do that either.
I wish I could say that God’s plan will always make our lives easier and more comfortable, but I am certain I can’t say that.
But what I can say is this: God's plan is always better than my plan, but it is usually harder too.
Look back to the story of the very first Christmas. One of my favorite characters in the Christmas story is someone who usually doesn’t get much attention – Joseph the carpenter. He’s the forgotten man in the Christmas story, but not by God. God hand picked him to be the guardian of His Son Jesus and the caretaker of His mother, the Virgin Mary.
“Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
Surely this wasn’t in Joseph’s plan. By this point, Joseph was an old man – probably well into his 70s or 80s. He wasn’t getting married because he was in love with Virgin Mary – who was no older than a teenager at the time; he was getting married because he needed someone to take care of him in his old age. That was how things worked back then.
The point is this: he had a plan for how we wanted to spend his final years in life and it didn’t include this. It didn’t include delivering a baby in a manger. It didn’t include changing diapers that weren’t his own. And it certainly didn’t include a 2 year trip to Egypt to escape the wrath of a crazy king who wanted to kill his baby.
"THIS WASN’T PART OF THE PLAN GOD!"
But in fell swoop, his plans were destroyed. The Angel appeared, delivered God’s plan to him and just like that, everything changed. No more easy life. No more comfortable future. No more ordinary family. From that moment, his life was never the same.
Was it better? ABSOLUTELY!
Was it harder? NO DOUBT!
I have no doubt that God has a dream for your life. And like I said before, that dream is exceedingly abundantly above what you can ask or even imagine. But be careful: usually God’s blessing doesn’t come wrapped in a nice package. It usually comes in the shape of a challenge of faith – something you didn’t plan for but you have to trust Him to get you through.
Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that your plan is the best plan or the only one that can satisfy. Our Father knows best [just like we tell our kids right?]. We need to trust Him no matter what His plan may be.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
For discussion: has God ever turned your plans upside down? How did it turn out in the end?