Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-10
One of the most frustrating sounds to me is that little voice in my GPS saying “Turn around when possible.” It means I’ve messed up and have to get myself back on track.
There’s also a voice in the spiritual dimension that tells me “Turn around when possible,” and I’m not in my car. That’s when I find out God has another plan.
The other day I read a blog in which the writer declared confidently (as only an American twenty-something can) that her dream is pretty much set in stone, that there is no Plan B. I saw a bit of myself in her, as I look back on my early dreams and the paths and detours my life has taken since. As I reflect on the many times I set out, determined, in one direction only to have God stop me in my tracks, often turning me around 180 degrees, I can declare now, as only a seasoned Christian can, “Thank God I didn’t get my Plan A.”
There were times when Plan A proved impossible. Plan B seemed like a compromise, and I was ashamed to admit that I had changed course, especially when other dreamers would look at me as though I had betrayed them. Sometimes it even got down to a Plan C, and I seriously wondered whether I would ever find my true calling.
Whatever the plan is, prayer has to be the starting point. Spending hours in prayer in a solitary place is not exactly every young person’s dream. It’s not nearly as dramatic or glamorous as speaking or singing in front of thousands of people (giving God all the glory, of course) or riding in on my white horse to save the day. But since then the Lord has taught me that these times spent with Him is where the true power lies, and as HIS will unfolds, I have seen more times than I can count that His plan was far better than mine.
Write this down: Your “Plan B” just might be God’s Plan A.
Think of the examples in Scripture where God’s plan was so much higher than man’s:
Joseph’s desire was probably to stay home with Daddy as the pampered, favorite son. Later his Plan B was to make the best of being a slave, then Plan C: getting out of that prison! But God’s was orchestrating His Plan A all along: making Joseph the prime minister of the most powerful nation on earth and using him to save humanity from starvation!
The early Christians had a good thing going, and I would guess their dream was to keep building the Church in Jerusalem. But when persecution broke out, Plan B was to scatter and survive. Of course, this was God’s Plan A from the beginning; Jesus had already told them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news.” (I guess they forgot.)
And of course, the greatest plan of all: our salvation. Jesus’ disciples were focused on their Plan A: following the Messiah in overthrowing Rome and making Israel a free nation – a plan that was seriously thwarted when Jesus was executed by said Roman government! But God’s plan all along was to save ALL Mankind from sin, so that we could enjoy life with Him in the most glorious kingdom of all – forever.
So, what is my goal now? The longer I live, the more I desire one thing: to please my Creator and Savior. And what pleases Him? The Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith is to trust in His leading, even when He causes me to change my plans (emphasis on “my“). I want to be in the very center of His will, but in order to do that I need to trust that He knows best and not let disappointments crush my spirit. I have learned that when I am disappointed by circumstances beyond my control, the right response is to be confident that however good that dream might have seemed, God has a better idea.
Faith is not clinging stubbornly to my plan and defying everything around me that might suggest that another plan might be better. It is not refusing to admit that I just might be wrong, just might need my goals adjusted. It is believing that the God who sees all and knows all and wants the best for me may be seeing something I’m not seeing. It is being flexible – not in a wishy-washy way, but praying for discernment, knowing that what might appear to be the devil’s barriers could be the Lord’s boundaries. What I see as the enemy’s roadblocks just might be God’s guardrails. What I see as Satan’s obstacles just might be God’s speed bumps. After all, if we are to go down the path that’s perfect for us, it might be necessary for all the wrong or inferior paths to be closed off.
And faith is trusting that even if I make a mistake, like a GPS God can help me “Turn around when possible.”
It’s committing every plan to Him, and responding to every opportunity, disappointment, advance, or setback in the same way: with prayer. And then watching expectantly for His plan to unfold. – Try it.
You might be amazed at how much you end up loving His plan A.