When Plans Go Wrong

If you are ever like me, then you make plans, and in your mind they are locked in. Maybe not plans for every detail or activity, but plans to check things off your to-do list on the weekend. Or plans to go somewhere, you’ve built up in your mind, and then all of a sudden, life happens. Your plans are wrecked. You have to postpone or you maybe have to let go completely. I do not do as well with either of those two scenarios. I have things built in my mind; they are going to go like this, when they do not, then I can get way more out of sorts than I should.

Recently, a close friend was having an auction that I had planned to go to for weeks. I love auctions, and especially when I know there are going to be great tools for sale. One can never have too many tools (I say as I try to figure out where I am going to put all the tools I have.) More than that, too, the sentiment of knowing it had belonged to one of my dearest mentors. Well my plans were wrecked by a bout of real life. We knew Covid would eventually come for us, but now? I had plans after all. I text my friend to wish him good luck with the sale, all the while, bouncing between wondering what I was missing, and fully knowing that it must not have been in God’s plan for me to go.

It made me do a lot of thinking, because while you are laying in bed sick, what else are you supposed to do?  Why do I let my wrecked plans get me frustrated, when I put no time in asking God what his plans are for me.  You may know the verses from James 4:13-16: Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” –14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Ouch. Did you catch the part where it says that being someone who is supposed to rely on God for all things, including our future plans, should not be so over confident that we plan all of our time without consulting the one who gives us that time? That it is actually evil? That stings a bit. Verse 15 gives us more than just a church cliche, “If the Lord wills…”. Well I don’t know if he willed it or not. I didn’t ask. I didn’t think I needed to ask. I mean, my plans seemed like such a good idea, to me. Paul often had good plans too, but he seemed to know better. In his letters he would say how he wanted to see them, or to return to them, if the Lord allows. Of course there was nothing inherently wrong with him wanting to visit his friends, his church plants, people from his letters we clearly see he loved and longed for. It’s not really about what is a good or bad idea for you.

This may all seem trivial. “I make plans all the time and its fine. Sometimes things just happen.” It’s deeper than that. It goes to a fundamental of Christian living. Do we really rely on God for everything as we should, or do we rely on ourselves more? We are to worry about nothing and seek God in everything, even our plans. But I can tell you that when something rocky comes along in my life, or especially the lives of my family, I am working heartily on a solution as soon as possible, and then remembering that I know someone with better answers, and a way better perspective of the situation. Especially for guy’s, but as parents, friends, Christian’s, we want to fix. That is not really a good excuse. Again, God is a way better fixer than I can ever be. I can fix a little wood this, or a little metal that, but I cannot mend a broken heart, broken body, and especially, a broken soul.

The scripture points out something important that makes this about more than just scheduling this or planning that. It points to how finite we really are, and how we don’t know if we will be sick with COVID that day, or even breathing in a few minutes from now. We have all had major events happen in our lives that we didn’t plan on. Those were/are shocking, sometime jarring, and sometimes life altering. But as shocked as we are, they did not catch God off guard. Not a single one. Thank goodness for that.

Think about this, God, who created all creation so that we would know Him and worship Him, who set in motion all time and space with a plan to create a path for the redemption of humanity in the person of Jesus, probably took a little thought and planning to make that happen. Making plans is not wrong, in and of itself. It’s when we do not include the Lord in them that we are making it a sin. What is his will for me? To fill my time with busy-work, even if it seems like a noble cause? Or to be open to Him and what he wants for my life, even on a specific day?