Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God's Will for Our Lives, Part Three: The Bondage of Planning

If you could know when the date of your death would be, would you want to know?

There are several times this question has come up in discussions I've had and my answer is always a resounding YES, mainly because I want to plan for it.

I share that so you know that this "bondage of planning" is one that I struggle with quite a bit.

Those among us who are administrative and efficiency minded have a hard time functioning without a plan. There is safety in seeing ahead of time how events will unfold and planning for it accordingly. We like detailed itineraries, agendas and syllabi. We relish assigning things times and dates and writing lists and guidelines. We are the organized, logical thinking ones, who excel in any task they undertake and not only get things done, but exceed expectations time and time again. Our society wouldn't be able to function and thrive without the planners and organizers.

Unfortunately, I have found, God doesn't tend to work that way. I believe strongly that God has a plan, but He only shares it with us step by step. If He does reveal the whole plan in detail, it is usually through some cryptic prophesy or dream, almost as if His communicating the plan is more for the people to see it afterwards than it was for the people actually living it out.

It is in this dichotomy that the bondage comes. We often want to know the destination before we take the first step. Even if God does show us the destination, we want to know all of the events in between so we can plan for any periods of "discomfort", such as financial struggles or relational stress. When God just shows us the first step or only shows us the destination, we rationalize that doing that isn't the prudent thing to do because it is too risky. We then use the lack of a clear plan as rationalization for putting off following God's will.

I've wondered for a long time why it is that God chooses to be so scant in giving the details of what He wants us to do. Wouldn't it be easier for God to just lay out the plan for us step by step? Wouldn't more people be willing to do work for His kingdom if He gave us a more detailed plan? Why would God not even share all the details of His plan for the world with Jesus, His beloved Son (Matthew 24:36)?

I'm sure there are many facets to the true answer to this question, but the most important answer for me is if God gave us the whole plan, we would rely too much on our own power to get it done. If God laid out the whole plan for us, how often would we go back and consult Him in the process of getting it done? How much credit would we give God in the end? How many miracles along the way would we right off as being in our own power? How much would we depend on Him?

Trust God enough to step out in faith when you feel His call to do something. Don't let not seeing the plan keep you in bondage from all God wants you to do. The lack of details isn't a sign of uncertainty, it is a sign of how much God wants you to grow.

Blessed is the one
who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare. (Psalm 40:4-5)

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