A 5-Year Plan
Years ago, a man I know who is a very successful business consultant asked me what my “5-year plan” was. It really bothered him when I replied that I didn’t have one, and never have.
This morning, out of interest, I typed the words ‘life plans’ into my search engine. Immediately on my screen appeared reams of information from ‘life gurus’ offering, at an extortionist rate, help in the form of drawing up a plan for my life for the next 10 – 30 years.
Don’t get be wrong, it’s not that I don’t care about the future, but I’ve learned and am still learning (I’m a work in progress!) that often my plans, though they might seem great at the time, even noble and godly, aren’t necessarily Gods plans. And I’ve also discovered that frequently, my loving Heavenly Father has a way of completely “messing up” my plans!
Our Plans Vs God’s Plans
Our plans sometimes fall through; Like me, I’m sure you’ve had some unexpected and even painful times in life when things just haven’t worked out the way you planned or hoped. This can be devastating at the time – it feels as though the rug’s been pulled from under your feet, doesn’t it? That is, unless we remember and write on our hearts some very important truths.
God will fulfill his purpose for you
No matter how derailed your own plans may become – God will never be deterred from fulfilling His purpose for your life.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8
“His purpose”, not mine – it’s as simple as that. We make plans without consulting God, forgetting that He holds our very breath in His hands!
Proverbs 19:21 tells us: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
Proverbs 16:1-3,9 says:
“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
Whether I choose to respond to these promises with trust or not is a reflection of whether or not I really believe that God is who He says He is.
God has a way of messing up our plans
But there’s always purpose in it. Take Abraham and Sarah for example.
When they got married, Abraham and Sarah, must have had the same hopes and dreams any newlyweds have. But God had other plans! As the years went by and Sarah’s arms remained devoid of a baby, how hard it must have been for her, living in a culture where women without children were made to feel “less than”. What a test of both their faith! God allowed Sarah to remain childless well past her childbearing age; In addition to this, God led them out of their homeland, away from their family and friends. People just didn’t uproot like that in those days. These are two major, life changing things in the life of this couple and wouldn’t have been on the agenda of any normal thinking person’s life plans!
Finally, after all those years of waiting and yearning, God, in His timing, gave Abraham and Sarah a baby boy, Isaac.
Like any parents, they must have had hopes, dreams and plans for their son. So did God! When Isaac was still just a boy, God told Abraham to do the unthinkable; to sacrifice Isaac. Wow, that’s quite an ask!
When Abraham showed that he was faithful to the point that he was willing to sacrifice the very thing he loved, and God stepped in, stopped the sacrifice of Isaac, saying this:
“Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.” Genesis 22:16-18
God accomplished for Abraham and Sarah what they would never have accomplished on their own.
I can look back on my own life on times where things haven’t gone the way I’d hoped and I’d been really disappointed, only to think now; “I can see God’s hand in it, and I’m so thankful He was there, working all things together for my good”
It’s a Conscious Choice – Obedience & Trust Vs Doing it My Way
Between my own plans and God’s purposes is a choice to surrender; to unclench my hands from their (sometimes vice-like) grip on my own plans and say.”not my will Lord but yours.” Like Abraham, to obey God and sacrifice that thing I love, whatever it may be, trusting in God’s unfailing love, knowing that He sees the bigger picture.
The whole concept of a 5- year plan shouts: “I’m scared things are going to go wrong, so I’d better take control and put some safeguards in place” it says: “I don’t quite trust you God”
You and I don’t need a 5-year plan; We have a God who promises to fulfill His purposes for us. He will fulfill His purpose for you. Just give Him all of your heart, commit your way to Him, including your plans and you’ll discover something amazing:
When We Walk In Step With God, we find that His purpose becomes ours anyway!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”