It’s All Part of the Plan…God’s Plan
I have noticed that in times of struggle I get upset because things are not going the way I want them to or moreover expect them to. So much of the discontent in my life comes from violated expectations. I think things are going to go one way and they go the other way. Just because you pencil something into your planner doesn’t mean it was set in stone on high (this is perhaps one reason why God provided for erasers). It could be something as bold as “set a new personal best for my run” or as innocuous as “do laundry” but things are going to go the way the Lord wills them to go and your dirty laundry may have to bear with its dirtiness for at least one more day (or you may have to wait until the sports drink really kicks in next time before you’re able to set your personal record). This is why James admonishes us about relying upon the supposed certainty of future plans and advises us to add the caveat “God willing” (James 4:15).
We Love the Illusion of Certainty
Why is it so troublesome when things don’t go according to plan? I think a lot of it depends on what your perspective is on God. Do you truly believe he is good and that all things work out for good for those who love him? Perhaps you (like I) doubt you love him as much as you should because you don’t always obey his commandments and therefore maybe things won’t work out so well for you because you’re not loving him as much as you should or maybe don’t really love him because you’re not perfect in obedience (I still have some legalism I need to purge from my system)? Or you’re captured by the circumstances in front of your eyes and not mindful of the eternal truth of the Word, to which your circumstances are subordinate? Whatever the reason we are in love with certain illusions and fanciful notions about the world, our control over it being one of them. So how do we break out of this particular illusion?
Reflect on the Good Things God Has Done
Throughout many of the Psalms David advises us to reflect on the good works of the Lord. The Lord has a reputation and that reputation is unimpeachable. If we rely on letters of recommendation and Yelp reviews then how much greater is the Word of God? If you’re confident in that five star review of that sushi place you’ve been meaning to try for years then how can you doubt God’s goodness (the author also asked himself)? I believe what the Bible says about the things God has done although I must always pray to refresh my faith and strengthen it so I don’t forget or fall into disbelief. My issue is applying it to my own life; but these things were written down specifically so they would be applied to our lives. They are our legal precedents (see Romans 15:4 for more on this) that we can bring to the Lord Almighty in the heavenly court as we advocate for mercy and forgiveness and yes just unadulterated goodness. So (and I say this to myself as well) when we are anxious about the future or even upset about unfulfilled plans in the present let us remember that God is God, has been God and will be God and though our plans are little more than vanities his truth and goodness are solid as a rock and built on an unshakeable foundation. Praise the Lord for his goodness and may he bless and prosper our plans; and if they don’t work out the way we want them to praise him anyway!