Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

ISAIAH 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

THEME OF THE DAY. WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED. Today’s scripture might be considered one of those “great to give as advice” portions of the Word, but “difficult to swallow” portions of the Word. For instance, life is going smooth. There are a few “pot holes of trials” but nothing major. Then a hurting brother or sister seeks us out for help. He or she is going through a very difficult situation or circumstance. Life isn’t unfolding like planned. There is confusion, pain, and discouragement. In our attempts to minister to them, we might tell them, “Yes, this is a tough time, but remember, ‘God’s thoughts are not your thoughts. His ways are not your ways.’ Trust Him. He will see you through.” And that would be great advice to give. Now put the shoe of that brother and sister on ourselves. Now tell the same advice we just gave to ourselves – “Yes, this is a tough time, but remember, ‘God’s thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are not my ways.’ Trust Him. He will see me through.” Not as easy, is it? But what are a couple of things we can do when the advice we give must be the advice we take ourselves when our plans don’t go as we like?

First, cling to the truth God really is in control of everything; even the situation causing us worry, anxiety, confusion and not unfolding in the way we would like. And all the sleepless nights, all the “what ifs” racing through our minds, and all the attempts to change situations and people will not alter what God has planned and is working out. His thoughts are not only not ours; His ways are not only not ours; but both are beyond our reach to alter or change to fit our desires. This should lead to surrender knowing His control of everything is good control, loving control, and always leads to great ends.

Another thing to do when life is taking a huge detour from the direction we would like is to increase our time seeking the face of God in prayer and His Word. Friends, as God unfolds His thoughts and ways in our lives, it is going to involve faith-stretching change on our part. He is making us like Jesus and that is a construction project in all of us that will require upsetting our schedules, our plans, and the ways we think life should be. And the only possible way to gladly submit and recognize His hand in our lives is to draw near to Him; to make getting so close to Him our number one priority and pursuit in life. When in close fellowship with Christ, we are responsive to His work in a non-complaining and non-rebellious manner. Conversely, when life takes on its trials and mysterious twists, if we are not near the heart of God, we will have a heart of complaining and rebelling. When things are changing in our lives, cling closer to our unchanging God.

So, when things don’t go as planned, and those times will happen, don’t just give advice about God’s thoughts and ways not being ours. Learn to take our own advice and gladly submit to the God whose thoughts and ways are always good.

PRAYER: “Father, forgive me when I complain over things in my life that don’t go as I planned.”

QUOTE: “God’s ways are not only different than our ways but far better than our ways.”