The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
You ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:15
Do you have plans for this Black Friday? Some folks will camp out in front of a store in order to get the best deals when the store opens. Others will have headed out at 11:59 PM Thursday to catch the store opening at midnight. Still others will stay far, far away from any and all shopping areas, stores, events, or sales. One company (REI by name) will in fact stay closed on Black Friday. Their pitch: “Opt outside on Black Friday“.
Those who will opt out of the Black Friday melee will no doubt make other plans. From Christmas decorating to trips to the park, to time with family, plans will certainly be made. What happens, however, when those plans are interrupted. A visit from a somber-looking police office announcing a tragic auto accident, a sudden pain in the left chest and arm, a fall from a ladder, a touch football game becomes a broken leg trip to the ER. Plans can get interrupted in many ways.
Not every interruption, however, is bad. A phone call and an unexpected visit from a favorite uncle, or a surprise invitation to the neighbor’s open house, or news of a brand new business opportunity can change the trajectory of a day or a lifetime.
In any case plans need to be made thoughtfully and held loosely. In fact it is said that among those businesses which make plans and those who don’t, the former do better. But those which make plans and then don’t stick to them are actually even more successful. Those who make their plans and are willing to change them realize that when conditions change, our plans need to adapt.
For the follower of Jesus there is actually one more piece to this puzzle. When we make our plans with God in mind, we are acknowledging that we are not our own. We belong to God, and his plans for us may take twists and turns we could never anticipate. He is working things out in our lives and the lives of others for our good, his glory, and the fulfillment of his ultimate plan: to save the world through Jesus Christ.
Next time your plans change, ask, “God, how can I be a more full participant in your plans and workings during these changing times?” It’s a good question; one which we would do well to learn, and one that helps us hold even the best laid plans loosely, as we seek God’s kingdom.