God is always moving us toward something. We rarely pause long to consider this but the core of God’s desire for us has a trajectory, a forward moving direction. We usually think in terms of God’s plan being stationary, anchored in time and location and present circumstances, but God does not think in those terms on our behalf. God is working out a process for us that is moving forward toward the climax of His plan for His children. It sounds a little trite but it is nevertheless true: this world is not our home. On this very day, at this exact moment, God is working to bring you home, to bring you to Himself. And He has a precise plan to ensure this happens for you.
Because God’s plan for us focuses on our future, we cannot bow to the temptation to become restless in the present. The very fact that it is His plan means that His full intention for you is not complete yet. When it is complete, it will be no longer His unfolding plan but, instead, our completed history. This is why believers must always live by faith. We trust the God of the plan and the plan of God. We do not lean to our own understanding of what He is doing because we do not fathom all that He is doing – in fact, it is impossible for us to discern all the layers upon which God is presently working in our own lives. He is omniscient and we are not – this is why life does not always make sense to us. We live out many paradoxes and puzzles during multiple seasons of our journey down here. Father is crafting your story out of past, present and future elements: people, experiences, climaxes, tragedies, needs, resources, solitude and encounters are all part of the script which we only read one day at a time. God does not prevent the painful, the bewildering, the challenging and the losses in His plans for us. But He promises that those things are NOT the end destination of His plan. They are rugged cobblestones along the pathway. We walk upon them as they are mixed with the other pavers on that same path: mercy, grace, forgiveness, provision, love, peace, companionship, wisdom and power. Something in our heart longs to have explanations, guarantees, specifics and foreknowledge of what the next bend in the road holds for us. We long to make sense of it all as it is occurring and we are tested when that desire to reason through it all is not within our power. If we are honest, we are not really eager to live by faith. We want to know the whole plan ahead of time because we think that would help us.
Truthfully, if you knew the entire plan of God for your life at the very onset of that plan it would likely swallow you whole, and result in you running the other direction. Why? Because God’s plan for each of us is bigger than all of us. God designs His plan for you to cause you to pursue Him as your foremost desire. His plan has to bigger than you, otherwise, you would end up trusting yourself, exalting yourself, living for yourself and, in the end, glorifying yourself. Therefore, all along the way, God reduces our reliance upon self and replaces it with a desire for Him. He does this one moment at a time, one blessing at a time, one gut-wrench at a time. So please do not become hasty in your heart and give in to the impulse to flee to places where you think you can make sense of things. Do not leap from safety zone to safety zone because that is the opposite of what it means to live the Christian life. The safest zone for you is the place where God appoints you to be. Easy and safe are not necessarily synonymous. King Solomon had it easy as a believer but he hazarded everything in that safety zone and nearly lost his faith (read Ecclesiastes this week and notice how miserable he was in his personal comfort zone). Old Testament Joseph had it as bad as a believer can have it, but he never lost his integrity or his dependence upon His delivering God. Joseph actually facilitated God’s plan for himself and countless others by abiding in the place of difficulty while continuing to seek God. Esther was thrust into a position where she lost her parents to the enemy, was forced to marry a pagan king and ultimately had to put her life on the line in order to deliver the Jews from a holocaust – does that sound easy to you? She initially wanted to take the easy way out too, but wise Mordecai counseled her to consider that her time and her calling were providentially appointed by the God of the larger plan. She certainly risked it, yet she was safe in the providence of the God who had a personal, precise plan for her life – the same God who knows the plans He has made for you.
His plan is unlike our own plans. His plan is superior. Obey what He says to you in order to ensure that you are cooperating with His plans. Then, no matter what you are encountering, trust Him with His plans for you. They are very, very good plans and you will have no doubt about that when they have come to pass.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me. When you seek Me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14