“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
— Proverbs 19:21
I never thought I’d blog. It just sounds awful. Besides that, I kinda had other plans.
And since I’m talking about never thought of… I never thought I’d start losing my central vision at age 33 either. Bit of a shocker there, but it did focus my attention. It really got me thinking about mortality (i.e. How long do I have to see this way?); and subsequently, I got to thinking about God and His purposes for this disastrous turn of events.
The above Scripture recognizes the fact that we all make plans in our hearts, but it also reveals the reality that the Lord’s purposes will be achieved regardless of our planning. This isn’t to say God always puts the kibosh on our ideas. It’s more like we don’t always think clearly, and we certainly don’t view the long-term results as He does. Our planning does not necessarily mirror God’s highest purposes for our lives. Let’s face it: we’re messed up, and He knows it!
Thankfully, our God is loving and merciful. He gives us many start-overs. Though His teachings are difficult and strange (and this gives Him a low approval rating among certain people), they ultimately grow us into the likeness of Jesus—if we are open to them. A BIG “if.” Growth, by the way, is God’s purpose for our lives—not comfort. We can have that in our next, eternal lifetime.
Oh, that we might be like Mary who said, “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I’ve always identified more with Jonah, running away and hiding from God’s call (Jonah 1:3), or Jacob, enjoying a good wrestling match with God (Genesis 32:22).
Mary models that wonderful quality God looks for in the hearts of His people: willingness. He doesn’t expect perfection, but a willing spirit is something He can work with. How do we cultivate this characteristic?
Brokenness helps. That combined with a sober recognition of our need brings us closer to God’s goal. Note: We aren’t likely to recognize (or admit) our need when all in life goes fantastically. One of the counter-cultural ways of God is that through sufferings we experience His grace the strongest.
If we can get to the brokenness/need stage, then we might be willing to move on to the surrender stage. A highly unpopular concept—surrender. But this flipped perspective (God’s ways are higher than my own) actually equals wisdom, not weakness.
So, as we ponder and plan with our 2014 calendars open, let us also be open to God’s purposes for the coming year. We mark our lifetimes by calendars, but God marks our lifetimes by eternity.