In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9
1 We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.
2 People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.
3 Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.
Have you ever been traveling in your vehicle and missed a turn? Then you hear the relatively passive-aggressive monotone words from your GPS “recalculating.” This little subtle reminder indicates that you are not following directions properly.
Perhaps a bit of GPS humor might help set the tone.
My GPS asked me how much I loved it. I replied, “Well, I’d be lost without you.”
My Dad kept using this GPS in his car, directing him to cliff edges. I think that is what led him to his downfall.
I tagged Waldo with a GPS device. Problem solved.
I recently gave my soulmate a new GPS for her car. I am not saying she is a bad driver, but after driving a bit with her new GPS, it blurted out, “After 400 feet, stop and let me out!”
One wise tip is not to set your “Home” address on your GPS to your actual home address. This is in case someone steals your car. They will know you are out and can then proceed to ransack your property. Instead, you should set the “Home” address to that of your local police station. That will teach the rascals a much-needed lesson.
“How do we commit our works to the Lord? Not merely by asking Him to bless what we’ve already done, but by committing ourselves and our plans to Him before, during, and after we have done our work” (Stanley).
How often do we bring unwarranted expectations to our experiences and aspirations? We develop our plans and timeframe and hope everything will go smoothly and turn out as desired. So often, expectations are unmet. Eventually, we come to realize that life does not work that way. This is even more true in the kingdom of God.
The Father often throws in totally unexpected and unanticipated events as He mysteriously works in our lives and circumstances. For example, recall the following events are found in the Scriptures: the burning bush; spending a night in the lion’s den totally unharmed; horses and chariots of fire; cryptic handwriting on a wall; prison doors and chains suddenly unlocked; and the parting of the Red Sea.
We are unable to anticipate the unexpected. And so, it is on the spiritual level. The Father has a way of rerouting our lives, speeding things up, or slowing things down. Of course, He is not “recalculating.” He is simply actualizing His predetermined plan and dream for our lives.
Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, was well aware of what we today experience as “recalculating.” Recalculating is necessary on the human level when we make our plans without regard to the direction and guidance of the Father. Solomon, of course, did not have a GPS, but he knew all about recalculating. Solomon contrasts making plans apart from the Father’s input versus making plans as the Father directs.
We could paraphrase the comments of Solomon in Proverbs 16 as follows: we often make our own plans, but the Father has the final say; success comes when we determine to allow the Father’s plans to become our plans; we propose and aspire, but the Father will have the last word.
The best and wisest course of action is to ask the Father what He wishes to accomplish and what His plans are. When we receive divine guidance, we have a choice to make. We can choose to follow His direction and pray that it will be done as He desires.
So often in life, we have this exactly backward. We make plans, and then we pray and ask the Father to bless them. As they say in parts of the southern United States, “that dog will not hunt.” And we become very disappointed when He does not come through as we expect and hope. This often leads to discouragement and disillusionment. Anger usually follows along with bitterness, resentment, and separation.
REFLECT & PRAY
Trade trust for frustration and disappointment. The Father will guide your way.
Father I recognize that I make plans without involving You, only to be extremely disappointed and discouraged when I do not get my own way. Help me trust You and depend on You to guide me step-by-step.
The Father is always at work around you. He has been actively involved in human affairs throughout history. In fact, He is orchestrating history. The Father invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
The Father is the sovereign ruler of the universe. He has been working throughout history to accomplish His purposes. He does not ask us to dream our dreams for Him. He does not invite us to set magnificent goals and then pray that He will help us achieve them.
He already has His own plan when He approaches us. He desires to get us from where we are to where He is working. He leads us from being self-centered to being God-centered. When the Father reveals to you where He is working, that becomes His invitation to join Him in His activity. When the Father reveals His work to you, that is the time to respond to Him (Blackaby).
It is deplorable but common that we repeatedly lose track of this spiritual truth. We make our plans, forgetting to ask Him what His plans are.
In place of disappointment with its consequent anger, we could choose to follow Solomon’s advice. It is simply a matter of trusting the Father and allowing Him to present His plans to us. As we choose to follow, He will direct our ways.
On the human level, we need to develop a bit of flexibility and expect “recalculating” and “redirection” as required.
© Dr. H 2022