Monday, October 3, 2011

That's Not the Way I Planned It

A Tudor style home
     Throughout my life, I have made many plans, but God had a different idea.  For example, I used to drive back and forth from our home in Defiance, Ohio to visit my parents in Napoleon, Ohio.  The route I chose was 424.  It was less traveled and a pretty drive along a portion of the old Erie Canal.  As I passed a certain piece of ground that had a nice slope to it, I dreamed of building a Tudor style home there one day with my husband.  This would be a quiet country place to enjoy the beauty of God's creation.  However, God closed some doors for us, and opened others which resulted in a move to Florida.  We do not live in a Tudor style home I had envisioned, but we do have a beautiful place on five acres where we raised our children and now enjoy our grandchildren.
Our church home - First Presbyterian Church of Lake Placid
     Our move was traumatic for me as we had to leave our family behind and venture to a community where we only knew one couple who had lived in Defiance before moving to Florida.  Nevertheless, God provided a wonderful church family for us that helped our transition.  I know I am not the only person who has made their plans only to find out that God had something different to accomplish in our lives.  Quite often, we think we KNOW how people should behave towards one another.  After all, they are not living up to our plan of how things should be.  Or, we believe we should have gotten a job and for some reason, God gave it to someone else.  The way we respond when the Lord moves us another direction tells us a lot about our character and willingness to obey.  Consider, for example, how Abram responded to God when He called him to another land.
       In Genesis 12:1-3, we read:  "Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'"  What a tremendous promise God made to this man.  However, think about a few things with me.  Abram was 75 years old when the Lord called him.  How many of us at that age would think of leaving family and friends behind for a land we did not know?  Likewise, God promised Abram that he would make of him a great nation, yet Abram did not even have a child of his own.  His wife was barren.  Despite these circumstances, Abram believed God and obeyed Him.
      Abram took a 1500 mile journey that was energized by faith, and the book of Hebrews best summarizes this amazing journey in chapter 11 verses 8-12:  "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he went to live in a land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.  By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.  Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore."
     In the passage, I love the writer's statement:  "And he went out, not knowing where he was going."  Isn't that the case that many of us face?  We had our plans.  Things were supposed to be thus and such, but then, they all changed when God pulled the plug on that scheme.  Even the Apostle Paul in many of his letters talks about how he had planned to visit a certain place but God prevented him from going.  He took him another direction instead.  Now here is the crux of the matter.  We can either believe God knowing that He is sovereign and follow His lead as Abram did or we can get mad, plant our feet, resist with all that is in us, and miss the blessing.
     God's grand design is His alone to know.  Through His Word, we receive wisdom and guidance, but like Abram, we must come to " look forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder are God."  He has the architectural plans for our life, and He is sovereign in all things.  Therefore, we must avoid kicking at the "goads" as Paul did before he met the Lord.  He had things all planned out as to how he would eradicate Christians in the land until that special appointment with Christ on the Damascus Road.  It was there that the Lord turned his life upside down and ultimately brought greater blessing to Paul than he could ever imagine.
     All who believe in Christ have been purchased by His blood.  Scripture reminds us that we are not our own.  We belong to Him.  This is why it is so important for us to go to God and lay our plans before Him that He may direct our steps according to His sovereign will and purpose.  We may not be able to see the "why" immediately.  However, down the road, like Sarah, we will see the fulfillment of God's promises if we choose to obey Him with a joyful heart.  This is our call:  to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  It may mean putting aside our plans for His direction.  When we do, we shall find a richer life than we could have ever imagined.  I know I have!  He has been faithful to us in His call and given us rich blessings where He brought us to serve.  He will do the same for you.  Selah!

I welcome your comments here and your insights.  Please leave an encouraging word so that others can be blessed.


Anonymous said...

It is so true. I know I have made lovely life plans before that were totally thrown aside because of things that happened. It's comforting to know God has it in His hands, even when it's hard to see at the time.

Barbara Thayer said...

How true Harmamae. We make our plans and God guides our steps according to His will for us. At the time, it doesn't always seem good to us...but ultimately, when we look back, we see how He has made our path even better than we could have. Thanks for stopping by my friend! blessings!