[Mar 26]—Making Plans

Jer. 29:10-14

I once had a friend pass along this funny little quip: “If you ever want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.” There’s certainly truth in that, right? We make our plans and schemes and schedules, and the Lord has utter disdain and disregard for all it; he takes it upon himself to disrupt our plans—actually throwing them out the window would be more accurate a description.

As a reminder, James had something to say about this: “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.”

Not that the making of plans is sinful or foolish in itself. We can’t live life just floating from one thing to another. We have to make plans if we ever want to progress in life. I’ve spoken about this before: You have to have proper balance between 1) just sitting on your behind and waiting for God to act and 2) Trying to do what only God can do. We make plans as best as we can, under the Spirit’s guidance and wisdom and in complete submission to him, and he leads us and protects us.

But let’s camp out on verse 11 for a moment. It’s a fairly famous verse. Lots of people quote it, especially when they’re facing indecision or trouble in life.

But do I really believe this?

Do I really believe that he knows the plans he has for me? That he knows what he’s doing?

Do I really believe that he has specific plans for me? I mean, he’s busy running the universe and making sure that Alpha Centauri stays in its proper orbit, and he has to make sure that the plan he’s unfolding for the End Times comes to pass in exactly the way he wants it. He’s manipulating kings and presidents and tycoons to bring about his purposes.

And if I really believe that he knows what he’s doing and he has plans for me (small, insignificant me), then do I really believe, do I really know that his plans for me are good? That they’re plans to prosper me and not to harm me? Plans to give me hope and a future?

I think in my life I’ve had the hardest time with that last one. I guess I don’t have that hard a time accepting that the God of the universe is omniscient and omnipresent. He doesn’t have limited attention like the rest of us. He expends no more energy keeping the stars in their orbits than he does making sure the rose in my wife’s garden is the right color.

But to really accept that his plans for me are good—that’s been a problem for me sometimes. When I’ve had hopes and dreams and possibilities supposedly dashed in front of me, it’s hard to believe that, isn’t it?

It all comes down to trust. This reminds me of a great point that C.S. Lewis made about the Resurrection. Why did Jesus rebuke his disciples for not believing the reports and sightings? Because this wasn’t a case of an ordinary man dying and some people claiming they saw him walking around. This was a Man who'd done some incredible things—including raising the dead—and now they couldn’t believe that he was doing just one incredible thing more.

It’s the same principle here. If I was being asked to trust in a friend who’s let me down time and time and time again, I’d have every right to be doubtful when he asks me to trust him again. But when I’m asked to trust Someone who time and time and time again has blessed me and protected me and provided for me, that’s something else. Of course, that's all on top of the fact that this particular Friend has laid down his life and died for me.

So how can I do this to him? He’s said that his plans for me are there to prosper me, not to harm me, to bring me a future and a hope. How can I think any different of the One who’s bled for me?

Lord Jesus, I know this in my head and in my theology, but I’m so quick to doubt, so slow to trust and obey. Change that about me, please.

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