“For I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
Years ago I heard a newly appointed pastor announce to his congregation that he had a plan to make everyone happy. He went on to say that many had already expressed how happy they were that he and his family had come to the church. With a smile on his face, he reminded us all that in due time there would be many others who would be just as happy when he left. While we can get a good laugh from this, we know it’s all to true, not only for pastors, but also for coaches. Most coaches are planners. We create five-year plans to establish our program, we create game plans for each opponent, and we draw up plans for special plays in special situations. From my earliest days of coaching, I’ve heard that failing to plan is planning to fail. Well, what happens when our plans don’t work out exactly like we thought they would? What happens when we get thrown off course? How many of us had a plan for the impact COVID-19 would have on our practice and game schedules. Who had a plan and was immediately ready to implement a social distancing and testing policy with their team six months ago? It’s a given that the best of plans will sometimes change. How do we respond when our plans don’t work out like we thought they would?
Despite all our planning, God is the only one who knows the future. Even though we convince ourselves we’re in control, the truth is we’re not. The good news is that God’s plan is always better than anything we could ever hope for or imagine. Have you ever wondered what Noah was planning before God told him to build a boat? I’m pretty sure Moses wasn’t planning on how to bring the Ten Commandments down the mountain when he was making the climb up. It’s doubtful that the Samaritan woman was planning an encounter with Jesus when she went to get water from the well. I’m convinced God wants us to prepare to the best of our ability and to be wise planners. But, I’m just as convinced He wants us to be open to the change of direction His plans often cause us to take. What may initially seem like a train wreck, could be the beginning of a new and amazing plan that God has created just for you. There is wonderful joy and hope in that promise.
Heavenly Father, help me see that my plans may not be Your plans. Teach me Lord, that great things can come from disappointment and hardship. Give me the strength to keep my eyes focused on You. Amen.