We do not control nearly as much as we think we do. I make plans all the time that are interrupted by events I did not foresee. We just don’t know. We call this life I guess. Now, I do believe goals are important because we do need to have some sense of direction. But, our plans are held loosely before a Sovereign God.
On Saturday morning my son wrote a list with his plans for the day. We managed to do much of it, but not as perfectly as he thought. One of the those re-directions came while trying to go fishing. We went to the state park and found they were now charging people to enter there, something they had never done in the past. I did not have money so we left. As we were leaving my son said, “sorry dad, I guess I shouldn’t have put it on the list.” I disagreed because the change in plans did not mean his plans were awful. It just meant there was something else we needed to do. We ended up at a different pond and had better fishing than we would have had at the other pond. We had a fun time even if it wasn’t how I envisioned it.
If you asked me while I was in college I would have told you I wanted to live in Minnesota. I had no intention of living a long distance from friends and family. When I took my first ministry in Minnesota, I planned on it being long-term. Today I live about 2,000 miles from my family. As difficult as that can be, it is actually a blessing because this is where God has us and we know it. There is nothing better than that.
The other way this is very obvious is in death. I know we all like to think we will live to be 100 years old and die peacefully. That sounds nice, but it is not the reality all of us will face. What scares most people is the fact that they just don’t know when they will die. I think it would be worse to know because you would have this running clock in your head your whole life. In either case, we learn to make the most of every situation, love, forgive, and enjoy moments with people who live far away. We just don’t know what the future holds.
As depressing as that might sound, it is actually a source of comfort. I realize that I don’t know everything that will come my way. I know that I don’t see the number of my days or how things will all pan out in my life. I realize that my list of goals and plans while interesting, are not necessarily going to happen. I don’t need to know everything. The God who loves me so much that He would allow His only Son to die for me knows how things are going to play out. All of the re-directions of my supposed ‘master plan’ are wonderful because God knows and steers me the way I need to move. This is something I am more than open to because I trust God. The only hope I have in all of this life is that this life is not the end but rather the beginning of something far greater. This hope is not in my own good works or some warped view of God. My hope is based in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the only path that leads to eternal life. And while life on this path is not predictable, it is exactly where I want to be. I guess faith is something we need to put to practice everyday because we don’t control as much as we think, and I am completely okay with that.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” – Proverbs 16:9