Dr. Phil: Well it’s another new year, and if you are like many, you have made (or thought of making!) some sort of New Year’s resolution. Of course, since it is nearly March, if you are like most, some of these may already be a distant memory! While these usually stem from good intentions, the rub is always in the follow through isn’t it? While some of our discarded resolutions are of our own making, the reality is that some of our plans are thwarted due to circumstances beyond our control.
Typical mission newsletters give glowing reports and present aspirational plans for the future. I suppose we are no exception. But as we know, life does not usually fit into our expectations or cooperate with our well laid plans. I recall this time last year when we had plans to meet with our Ukraine and Russian colleagues in person…..plans that had to eventually be cancelled due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The reality was that our team members on both sides of the conflict could not leave their country and we could not travel to theirs.
Perhaps you also had plans that had to change unexpectedly last year. Seems the last few years this has become a theme in many of our lives. But even in more typical years, it is our limited vision of the future, that inevitably results in our best laid plans changing. I am not sure if it is just the added perspective of age, or the events of the last few years, but I do find myself spending even more time than usual pausing to evaluate between what are merely my plans and what may be God’s plans. I suppose for most of us, youthful ambition and drive eventually transitions into perspective and hopefully the accompanying wisdom.
One thing I have discovered is that God’s plans end up happening and mine… well let’s just say, not so much. The above proverb comes to mind, “Man makes his plans, but God directs and establishes his way.” (Prov. 16:9). Not sure about you, but I have to continually be reminded of this truth. Yes, we make our plans and have goals, personally, and for the ministry, but I have learned to hold them more loosely realizing God may indeed have different ones (spoiler alert: His are always better!).
For those of us with more decades behind us than in front of us, our perspective of God’s dealings in our lives has become clearer. With greater hindsight we can now see how God has been directed our steps all along. In this new year we can have confidence that, even if things do not go according to our plan, one day looking back our lives will confirm the proverb that He truly did establish our way.
So whatever stage of life we find ourselves, we can have the assurance that as long as we draw breath he has a plan and purpose for our lives. Even though we may not know the details of the way, as long as he is ordering our steps, we can be sure that our future will be secure.