God doesn’t mind doing whatever it takes to get our attention. I’ve seen it in my life and in the lives of others. If we choose to ignore Him and do our own thing, He will make sure to correct our course. The more we refuse to listen, the more difficult things can get or the more spectacular God shows off to change our mind. I personally took the road of pain and loss until I finally gave in. Every time I thought I had hit rock bottom, the bottom would fall out from under me. That kept happening until I decided to stop doing what I wanted in my life and instead chose what He wanted. It was painful then, but looking back I’m glad He didn’t give up on me and that He kept pursuing me.
Jonah was a man who was called by God to get an entire city to repent and change their ways. Most preachers would salivate at that opportunity, but not Jonah. He didn’t like the city or its people. He didn’t mind if God destroyed them, so he headed in the opposite direction on a ship. They were soon met with a storm so great that the boat was going to come apart and everyone on board would die. Jonah confessed he was the reason and asked them to throw him overboard. He was probably thinking death was better than preaching in Nineveh. However, God’s plan would still prevail. He sent a large fish to swallow Jonah. As he sat in the darkness contemplating his choices, he decided to repent and agree to do what God had asked. The whole city of Nineveh repented.
Proverbs 19:21 says, “A person may have many ideas concerning God’s plan for his life, but only the designs of God’s purpose will succeed in the end” (TPT). What ways has God used to get your attention? Are you still trying to do it your way? There are many times when our will for our life conflicts with God’s, but in the end, His will will prevail. The Bible is full of people and nations who have tried to do things their way instead of God’s. We can choose to learn from their lives or from however God chooses to bring us back around to His will. You were created with a purpose and a plan. If you’re not sure what that is yet, ask God to reveal it to you. If you know it and have been stalling or running from it, expect God to help you get back on course using any means necessary.
One of the things I love about King David is that He kept trusting God no matter what was going on. When there was a giant threatening his nation, He believed God would deliver them. When he was sent back to tending sheep after he was anointed king, he kept praising God. When he sinned, he cried out for forgiveness. When nothing was going right, he went to the Rock that was higher. He was human just like us, but he learned to fully trust God no matter what was happening in his life.
Before he became king, Saul thought if he could kill him, his own son would be king instead. David spent a lot of time running from Saul and living in caves. He knew that God had anointed him to be king, yet here he was living in a cave instead of a palace. He didn’t cry out asking God why he wasn’t king. Instead, in Psalm 57:2 he said, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me” (NLT). Even though the promise seemed out of reach, he trusted in God’s plan.
If your life isn’t where you thought it should be or if it feels like you’re on the defensive, trust God’s plan. Ive found that God grows us and shapes us in the caves of life. He uses them to prepare us for His plan. Instead of being upset and angry that things aren’t working out according to your plan, thank God that He has a plan and He’s working it out in your life. The cave is worth the price you pay for the life God is leading you to. He will fulfill His purpose for you.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed, “Lord, am I on the right path? Is this where you want me? What’s my next step?” I always want to be in the know about the path for my life. I want to be able to see it and know I’m in the right place. Then this week I saw someone post Jeremiah 29:11. It says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (NLT). They then said, notice who knows the plans. It’s not me or you.
That spoke volumes to me since I always want to know the plan. Faith is about trusting the plans God has for me even when I don’t see them fully. I need to trust the steps He gives me, and i need to wait to take them until He says to. My impulse is to be like Abraham where God shows the promise and then I try to get there on my own. We need to learn to trust God’s plan, His timing and His path to get there. I’ve learned there’s less heartache if I do.
Here are some Bible verses on trusting God’s plan and the path to get there.
1. The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
Psalms 32:8 NLT
2. People may plan all kinds of things, but the Lord ‘s will is going to be done.
Proverbs 19:21 GNT
3. A man’s mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the LORD directs his steps and establishes them.
PROVERBS 16:9 AMP
4. The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalms 37:23-24 NLT
5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
My son has entered the complicated LEGO phase. For his last birthday he received several architectural LEGO sets. He’s at the age where he’s in love with the architecture, but he’s not where he can read the instructions, find the right piece and put it the right place. He knows the finished product is going to be cool, but sometimes struggles to wait for it as we try to put it together. I’m often having to remove pieces he’s added, which isn’t easy. He’s learning to wait for the finished product though.
He reminds me of myself as I wait for God to continue to build my life piece by piece. I know the finished product is going to be worth the wait, but I don’t always have the patience. I want to jump in and help. So I add a piece here or there. Sometimes I just take everything and say, “Oh! I see what you’re doing. I got it from here, God.” Like my son, I feel like I’m more independent than I am. I think I’ve got it figured out at times, but I lack the ability to do what only God can do.
King David must have learned this valuable lesson. After being anointed king, he had to go back to the pasture to watch sheep. After slaying Goliath, he still wasn’t made king. I’m sure he wondered when the promise of his future would happen. In Psalm 25:21 he wrote, “Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product” (MSG). He learned to wait to see what God was doing and to not jump the gun, even though others around him encouraged him to. He realized waiting on God to complete His work was worth it.
I’m still learning to trust Him, and to wait for the finished product. Maybe you’re there too. What feels like watching sheep is really preparing you for what God has for you. There is a finished product in what God is doing in you. He will be faithful to complete what He began, but we have to learn to let Him work and to use His skill to put us together. Remember that He’s working for your good, and the finished product is worth the wait.
Author Robert Burns penned the now famous line, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” I can’t tell you how many times in my life the plans I made were detoured. I thought my plan was foolproof, only to find out it wasn’t life proof. Things happen that I don’t foresee and derail my goals and dreams. Often times, in disappointment and frustration, I give up on them and never return to complete them.
Sadly, this is the story for most of us. Life happens and takes away our happily ever after. We either think life has it out for us or God just doesn’t care. The truth is that often we try to build our own plans for our life and never include God’s plan for our life. When all of my plans came crashing down several years ago, I looked at my life and only saw a foundation left. I remember hearing God say, “Now that your plan failed, will you try it my way?”
I agreed that His way was best. I remembered the prophetic words spoken over me shortly after disaster took it all away. God said, “What looks like an ending is only a beginning. Where I am leading you, you will find more joy than you’ve ever known.” As I handed over the reigns of my future to God, i prayed, “God, I trust your future for my life over mine. Do what you want with my life and work out your plan for me.”
God has been faithful to do just that. Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will work out his plans for my life” (NLT). If your plan for your life has failed and you’re at what looks like an ending, I recommend handing over the reigns of your life to God. You can trust your future to Him. He will take what looks like an ending, and turn it into a new beginning. Pray that same prayer I did and watch God work on your behalf.
A friend of mine recently called me to invite my wife and I to go somewhere with him. I said, “Sure! We’d love to.” He paused for a moment, then nervously asked, “Are you going to check with your wife first to make sure she doesn’t have any plans for y’all?” It was a good question with much wisdom behind it. I was about to make plans without checking with her first, much like many of us make life changing plans without asking God.
A friend of mine recently asked on Facebook, “Where in Scripture does God, or any of His prophets, tell us to follow our dreams?” Many people attempted to put verses from the Bible in there, but none could give one. His point was that we’ve become people who teach our kids to follow their dreams and to become anything they want, but we haven’t taught them to ask God what plans and dreams He has for their life.
There’s a saying that’s been changed through the ages, but the current one says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Too many times, we are making plans and telling God our plans without consulting Him first. Proverbs 16:1 says, “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word” (MSG). So many of my plans in life have changed because God’s plan overruled my plan. Thank God too because His plan is much better.
If the plans you’ve made for your life are falling through, don’t despair. Pray and seek God for what His plans are for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord” (NLT). God knows the plans He has for each one of us. It’s time we stopped what we were doing and asked for His plans. Until then, our plans will continue to fail. Trust me. I’ve been there and have had to start over a few times. It’s better when we ask for His plans. They’re more elaborate than ours.