What Is God's Plan For You?
'In their hearts humans plan their course; but the Lord establishes their steps' (Proverbs 16:9).
Do you have it all mapped out?
In our society, we’re encouraged from a young age to plan the course of our lives. Whether it’s moving to a particular postcode for the best school or healthcare, the choice of subjects influencing the university options available to us, or networking in order to lay the foundations of a career move – we plan our lives.
None of this is bad, and often it can be extremely helpful. But sometimes our plans are not aligned with the plans of God for our lives.
I graduated in 2006 with an engineering degree and a life that was ‘on-plan’. I had a degree, a good job, a marriage and a house. I was on the trajectory that I had planned many years earlier. Next on the list were kids and then a life of steady accumulation. Where was God in this? He’d helped me through my exams, He’d been there at the wedding, and He’d answered the prayer for a house and a job. However, I’d made decisions and only then asked God to support my plans. That temptation is always there – God supporting our plans.
This is not what Jesus did.
Submitting to the plans of God
At Gethsemane He prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will' (Matt 26.39). Jesus most certainly had plans and wishes but His prayer in this instance of despair and apparent hopelessness was for the Father’s will to be done. This ultimately led to death, but in submitting to the Father’s plan and not to His own temptation, Jesus provides the perfect example for us. As the proverb above says, the Lord had indeed established Jesus’ steps, and Jesus prayed for His own will to be aligned with the Fathers’ so as to undertake these steps. So too must we submit to the Father’s will.
God’s plan for you is always good and it is always perfect - in his letter to the Romans Paul states that, 'in all things God works for the good of those who love him' (Romans 8:28). In the midst of the Babylonian exile God demonstrates this in a promise of future hope for the Israelites, ultimately realised in Christ (Jeremiah 29.11). But this is not just a fleeting promise to a desperate people; it is the divine plan, and it came with instructions of how to live out those plans. The people were to call on God and pray to Him, seeking Him with all their heart (Jeremiah 29.12-14). In this seeking and calling we may begin to understand the plans of God and walk those steps established for us.
We are not merely robots, blindly following a pre-programmed set of instructions. Just as our Saviour Jesus taught us, we are to submit to God’s plan; not to ask Him to submit to ours. Through prayer we are to seek understanding of this plan, and follow the steps that the Lord intended for us. And who knows where the steps may lead us?