Be Thankful Your Plans Don’t Always Prosper
One of the most disappointing things is never seeing our own plans prosper. It’s upsetting to feel like our agenda is out of control, disorderly, and unorganized.
“I’m not getting what I want.”
“The changes I want to see are not happening.”
“Things need to get moving.”
We have the perfect plan in mind. Our goals are good ones. But why don’t our plans always prosper when we want? What’s missing here so the ball can get rolling how I picture?
I’ve put some thought into this during the past few months and I’ve been encouraged with this word — be thankful your plans don’t always prosper.
Think back to your elementary years.
What were your plans in elementary school? Who did you want to be? What did you desire to see prosper?
We all remember that grade school crush — “Oh, God! Let her be the one!”
You see them today and think — “Oh, God! Thank you for not listening to me!”
Though it’s painful to admit, we’ve never truly known what’s best for us. Our perspective is narrow, small, and unwise in light of all eternity.
Thinking back to the older days helps us realize that we have no clue what’s best for us. We may have a decent plan, but it’s not the best plan.
God’s plan is better than yours.
“The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble” (Proverbs 16:4).
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We should be planners, and diligent ones at that! But we must remember to write our plans in pencil because the Lord may have something better.
God is above all, in all, and through all. He can see literally everything from start to finish. And we pray that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven, not our will.
Trusting God is not easy.
Let’s be honest — trusting God is hard. Trusting him ultimately means that we give up control (not that we really had it). We do this to truly rely on him. We let things be how he wants them to be.
Appreciating God’s plan over our own during the elementary-school days is easy. However, thinking about his plan instead of our own today is super difficult.
Apart from embracing the goodness and the sovereignty of God, we have every reason to stress out about today. But if God is good and he is in control, we have every reason to rest and be content. It’s not easy to bow down to God’s will, but it sure is better for us. Furthermore, eventually everyone will bow a knee to God (Romans 14:11) so you can bow now or bow later.
This is reason for thanksgiving.
If all of this is true and applicable, we have reason to thank God today. We can confidently pray to God and offer him thanksgiving for not listening to all of our prayers.
Garth Brooks, in his 1990 country music hit, said it perfectly — “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.” We should be able to sing and pray these words from our heart (maybe not with country twang).
If you think long and hard enough to a time when you were completely convinced you had the perfect plan, but later found it was a bad idea, this will make sense. We really don’t make perfect plans, but God does. And we should be okay with his plans prospering instead of our own.
Job provides a beautiful submission to the Lord’s reproof in Job 42:2.
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (ESV)
Some of the language here can be confusing without knowing the context, but Job is quoting the Lord’s questions from an earlier moment before responding to them in repentance.
Job understands that his own plans needed the reproof of the Lord for true prosperity in God’s will.
May we, like Job, experience the blessing of God’s reproof. We should accept his wonderful guidance and plans. There’s no reason to be mad at God, ourselves, or one another for not seeing our own plans prosper. In true faith, let’s offer praises to God because he doesn’t always listen to us. His purposes will not be thwarted.