His Plan. His Blueprints.

God has a plan, a blueprint for our lives. We love the thought. We quote, post, and have signs in our homes which proudly displaying Jeremiah 29:11 The reality though, we also have plans, a blueprint for our lives.  Another truth, the two plans often don’t merge well. There is conflict. Too often our life plan supersedes God’s. We’re great at taking our life plan to Him. We pray, ask, quote scripture, and sometimes demand that God respond, even relents to our plans. Rarely does this turn out the way we had hoped.

As a result, we get frustrated, even angry with God. We say that prayer doesn’t work. God doesn’t listen. Bitterness, hurt, and disappointment moves in. Too often we walk away from prayer, sometimes even God. God didn’t work out our plan so, like a child, we pout, and sometimes worse, throw fits and run away.

The reality is this. We don’t read Jeremiah 29:11 very well. It says, “for I know the plans I have for you.” Simply put, it’s not our plans for Him to orchestrate, but His plan we must yield to. His blueprint. His work. It overrides ours. He has a plan. He knows the plan, but unfortunately, rarely does He share the details with us.

We don’t see God saying, “Joseph, here’s my plan. You’re going to be betrayed by brothers, have your character destroyed by the lies of Potiphar’s wife, and go to jail.” He doesn’t share with Moses that his leadership preparation will involve 40 years in a wilderness, dysfunctional leaders, and people continually rebelling. God’s plans for us are His, and most often, unrevealed to us.

His blueprint rarely means a painless life. His idea of wellbeing and prospering doesn’t necessarily mean material or earthly blessings. In fact, His plan may, and often does, mean difficulty, abandonment, betrayal, pain, and sickness. It overwhelms us, “we see through a glass darkly,” Paul says, but be confident, if we yield, His plan works.

We like plans that look like nice homes, global vacations, money in the bank, 401K’s, and spending winters in a warm climate. We like blueprints that have no pain, sickness, betrayal, or sorrow. We call blessings prosperity, not problems.

What does His blueprint look like? Not like what we would like. John’s blueprint means he will be jailed and beheaded. Simon Peter’s and Paul’s means jail, persecution, and eventually death. In fact, with the exception of John, who was boiled in oil and ostracized to an island, all others die martyrs. Even Jesus, in His flesh prays, “not my will, but yours be done.” It’s difficult for anyone to fully embrace His plans, but they work.

Simon Peter likely dies disappointed and broken in the fact that God didn’t deliver him. In his last moments he probably doesn’t see his life as favored and blessed, but 2000 years later, while most lives are long forgotten, his message and his name are still talked about. In his final days, Paul knew his fate, that deliverance from a jail meant a martyr’s death. He likely wondered; did I make a difference? Did I impact my world? He had little earthly possessions, and even though he didn’t fully grasp it all, he died wealthy. His name. His work. His writings will impact millions and are still alive and powerful today. God’s plans were accomplished.

Walking through a storm? Neglected? Feeling abandoned by friends or God? Frustrated that God and heaven seem silent? Hurt by someone who betrayed you? Disappointed with your financial situation? Confused that the Healer hasn’t healed you? You are not forgotten. You haven’t committed the unpardonable sin. His love has not faded. His grace is sufficient. You are likely in the right space. He knows the plans that He has for you, even when they seem hard and unfair.

How do we respond? As those who have gone before us. Listen to their words. James says, “count it all joy when trials come.” Paul writing from jail to the Philippians and says, “rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” John understood God’s plans and his didn’t mesh and says, “He must increase, and I must decrease.” As they did, we must do also. It may never make sense. The pain and disillusionment real. Yet as Paul said, in an often-misquoted Romans 8:28, “all things work for good for those who love God. I have to remind myself that Paul did not say, “our good,” but “for good.” We must choose to live in that revelation.

Two old hymns say it well.

Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow, And I know who holds my hand.

I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

What were they walking through? How difficult was their storm? Likely really challenging. Tough enough to cause them to pen the lyrics. Lyrics that outlived them. Lyrics that are a testimony that His will, His plan is best, even when it is painful. Embrace His blueprint.

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