Monday, November 3, 2014

God's Plans vs Man's Plans

I read a Twitter post the other day that made me think. Really think. I love when that happens. This was the post:

"We should remind ourselves daily, because we are so prone to forget, that the power of God so often looks like weakness, like folly."

Not long ago, I saw this on Pinterest:

"We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

Both of these quotes rang true for me. I think we humans tend to plan our lives according to what we believe a "successful" life should look like and then we fully expect that plan to happen. I know I did! We make plans, dang it. We have lists! We have expectations and goals and dreams! 

And then there's the real plan. The one God has for you. In my experience, my plan and God's plan look absolutely nothing alike. (I'm pretty sure God laughed at my plan, but he was hugging me while he was chuckling.) They are the antithesis of one another, usually. 

Very often, God's plan is SCARY.  It's not normal, for Pete's sake!  It's craziness. I mean, just look at what he's asking me to do! What He is asking me to give up! There is no way I can make MY plan happen if I follow this madness. I'm gonna be broke on that plan,too, God.  People are gonna think I'm crazy, Lord. Did you look at this carefully, God?  It's impossible.

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."  Mathew 19:26

So, I started reading the Bible and looking for proof that man's plans look good, while God's plans look crazy.  I knocked on God's door and He opened it wide for me. (I love when He does that.)

God told Abraham to leave his home and go to a place that God didn't even bother to name. God told Abraham that he'd give him this unnamed land and he'd have more descendents than stars.  Abraham was married to Sarah, but they were old and childless. The Bible doesn't tell us how Sarah reacted, but she went with Abraham. (I think she thought he was probably a little crazy, but was up for a little adventure in her old age. And still...she went.) Abraham fathered a nation and God gave him a new country to call his own.  How much you wanna bet that wasn't what Abraham had on his to-do list and lots of people thought he was a little cray-cray?

King David's Daddy, Jessie, didn't even bother to call him in from the fields when Samuel showed up looking for the person God told him would be the King of Israel.  David's own DADDY thought his youngest son didn't have what it took, so he just left him out in the fields while he brought all his other boys in to be looked over by Samuel.  Don't you know he thought it was pure foolishness for Samuel to pick his baby boy?  God's plan looked like folly to Jessie and maybe David's brothers, too.  King David kind of rocked the socks off being King, even though he was a hot mess like the rest of us. And the real kicker is that David loved the Lord with his whole heart. God even called David a "man after My own heart."  Not so foolish now, huh, Dad?

Paul was a rabbi and if you've ever done five seconds of studying Jewish history on rabbinical training, you know it wasn't a cush childhood. The parents of the would be rabbis had plans for them, people! The trade off for all that training and working and learning and studying was that rabbi's were given all kinds of mad respect and they got to make lots of rules that other people had to follow. I'd imagine once the hard core training was over, it felt pretty good being a rabbi. 

Paul was just a person and I don't know a single human who doesn't like a little power in their lives. We're just wired up that way. And then, Paul met Jesus. And he was changed and people in his sphere of influence (and some outside of it) thought Paul had lost his mind. Some probably even thought he was weak and had lost his way. They thought he was foolish. But, God had a different plan for Paul that only LOOKED like folly to human eyes. 

Human's have bad spiritual vision. People have a basic need to be liked and thought well of by others and we naturally want life to be easy, planned. God's plans foil even the best laid human plans, though. God's plans make us look weak and nobody really likes that feeling, do they?  Following God's plan is hard because it means we have to lay down OUR plans and that's just not fun times. We human beings like fun times and easy sailing.  

Ask Abraham or Moses or Paul or David or Stephen or even Jesus if God's plans are easy sailing. Jesus had to walk away from people to keep going about His Father's business and His Father's plans.  He had to walk away from family and friends and even had a cousin that he loved beheaded because that cousin was following God's plans. God's plans stressed him so much he was sweating blood as he asked His Father to re-think the plans that had been laid before the foundation of the world.  

"Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."


If we're to succeed according to God and not man, then we have to admit to ourselves that we may want other people's approval and we may want other people to agree with God's plans for us, but that may not happen. It more than likely WON'T happen. And that's OK. We just have to remember that God works differently than we do.  He thinks differently than we do because He can see the whole picture, the big picture. He can see the beginning and the end before the beginning or the end even happens. (There is comfort there, people!! He already knows!)

 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." Isaiah 55:8

I want to say that I'm not suggesting that us human beings never set out to do God's will, thinking we're REALLY doing His will, and we're not even close to the ballpark, much less in the game.  What I'm saying is that when we know that we know that we know that we are doing what God has placed before us, when we must lay down our plans and our will and our lives to do what He has asked us to do, don't expect a lot of applause or agreement from other humans. It's probably not going to happen. What WILL happen is a relationship with God that will blow your mind.  What will happen are all the things that you never thought of or dreamed of or believed was even possible. 

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."  1Corinthians 2:9

No matter what plans we make, they will never, ever trump God's plans for those that love him. Man may not applaud you or agree with you as you walk out your salvation with fear and trembling, but the relationship you gain with God, and even the new relationships you build as you walk your new path, trusting God to show you the way, will blow your mind. When we are weak, He is strong. When we humble ourselves, God's hand will move. And there is zero foolishness in that scenario.

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

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