“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”Proverbs 16:9
My father was a career man in the Navy. He spent twenty years in active duty and ten in reserve. That made me a “Navy brat.” The title “brat” explains a lot. Shortly after my father enlisted in the Navy, his younger brother decided to enlist also. Problem was that he was only 17 at the time, so he lied and told the recruiter he was 18. His misrepresentation lasted until he actually did turn 18. That was when the Navy discovered his deceit. Once his true age was revealed, they sent him home. But now, here is the rest of the story – as Paul Harvey used to say. My uncle was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He was sent home two weeks before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Oh……and did I mention that he was stationed on the USS Arizona? What was a disappointment to my uncle, turned out to be his protection.
We all have plans and dreams, desires and expectations. It can become commonplace for us to lay out the steps, timing, and resources needed in order to achieve our objective. But if God has a different plan than ours, his sovereignty will take precedence over our goals. In the Old Testament, Joseph had dreams about ruling his family; however, God’s plan was to send him to Egypt to rule there. Moses plan was to run away from his failures in Egypt, but God’s plan was to send him back there to free his people. In the New Testament, Peter had plans of owning a fleet of fishing boats, but God’s plan was to send him fishing for the souls of men. Saul (the apostle Paul) was determined to go to Damascus to drag Christ’s followers back to Jerusalem as his prisoners, but Christ encountered him on his way and Paul ended up becoming a disciple himself.
How many times do our plans change? How often do our schedules get rescheduled? Most of the time these changes make us frustrated. But let’s take a second look at the changes God makes in our lives. Some of them are to send us to a place where God wants to use us. Some of them happen so God can teach us some truths we need to learn. And some of the changes we face are to protect us.
During his second missionary journey Paul and his companions Silas, Timothy and Luke were headed for the city of Ephesus when the Holy Spirit blocked their way. In fact, He blocked their direction twice. Finally, God gave Paul a vision to go to Macedonia. There the missionaries found a woman whose heart God opened to the gospel, along with her entire family.
The important thing about our plans and dreams is that we surrender them to the sovereign will of God. Proverbs 3:5-6 admonishes us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Are you allowing God to direct your steps?