Planning isn’t one of my natural strengths, so the Holy Spirit has helped me grow in this area over the course of many years. I’ve come to appreciate that if I want to accomplish big dreams, then it’s important to develop some plans and structures for these dreams to become reality. So what happens when the plans don’t seem to work? Then what?
In the Gospel of Mark, I’ve been reading about how Jesus healed people, often not according to the human contrived plans, i.e, the Syrophoenician woman whom Jesus calls a dog, the 4 guys who break through a roof to get a paralytic in front of Jesus & the blind guy whom Jesus spits on for his healing. It seems to me that Jesus almost never follows our human plans, so it begs the question: why plan?
When you have plans to seem to go awry, maybe these ideas could be helpful:
plans help us think in constructive steps to achieve goals & dreams. No planning = no progress
planning with prayer is a massively helpful combination
consider Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”
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“Well, that was different!” All of us have had those times when we thought something would be different than what actually happened. Sometimes we are pleasantly surprised & sometimes we are bitterly disappointed. Thankfully, nothing catches the Holy Spirit by surprise & when I remember this, I’m always deeply encouraged in my soul. Furthermore, I’m increasingly convinced that the Holy Spirit uses all kinds of experiences, people & even uncertainties to help me walk more closely with Him.
So the key take away I’d suggest for today is that we stay in love with God & true to how God has designed us. When we do these things, no matter what happens God will work out things to be beneficial to us, based on Romans 8:28 🙂
Feel free to share this with anyone who could be going through some unexpected challenges!
We all deal with disappointment, feeling let down & even betrayed. It’s not an issue of “if” you’ll experience these things, but moreso “when” and most importantly what we do with this stuff. While this week for me has had some awesome high points and causes to celebrate, it’s also had a fair share of disappointments. So what do we do with this stuff? The Bible is replete with examples of people dealing with disappointment, feeling let down & betrayed – Judas, Joseph, Leah & Moses are a few names that immediately come to mind.
A few helpful points:
remember the lesson of the pearl: it’s beauty started with an irritant
sometimes disappointment can show us that maybe we’ve had the wrong focus – looking at people, situations or events more than keeping our eyes on God; this reminds me of when the angel spoke with the women at Jesus’ tomb in Luke 24:5, “Why do you search for the living among the dead?”
redemption is the outcome when we put discouragement & let down in God’s hands
let’s encourage each other to remain faithful to God, knowing that God is doing divine things of which we are unaware (Rom 8:28-29 – all things work together for good to those who love God, . . . . )
Sometimes I get frustrated with God, not so much because I’m not getting my way (that was a problem when I was younger), but moreso because of some struggles I have with God about faith & trust. As followers of Jesus, we know that we’re supposed to trust God & keep the faith, but sometimes this gets tricky. It’s in those “sometimes” that I can get frustrated and even mad with God because it can get really difficult and seemingly impossible. Maybe you’ve had some similar challenges in your walk with God pertaining to a health or relationship situation. Maybe you’ve struggled with God about some decisions or the direction you’re supposed to go with your career, education or family consideration.
The Bible is full of people who have been in some of the exact same situations with which we may be struggling. So here are some thoughts that can be helpful:
timing: sometimes God does last minute work that can be really unnerving – consider when Abraham was about to sacrifice Issac in Gen 22
bits and pieces: I often find that even though God knows the beginning & the end of stuff, we frequently find ourselves in the “need to know” zone, a little bit at a time and not the giant picture – consider Moses and the incremental nature of how God used him to liberate the Israelites from slavery in Egypt
honesty with commitment is important for intimacy: you can be honest with God about your frustrations without putting your entire relationship with God at risk – consider Job
endurance & persistance: the Apostle Paul comes to mind when I think about a biblical example of what endurance looks like, even finishing an extremely well run race with getting his head chopped off
community: the Bible is full of examples of people encouraging each other in staying obedient to & passionate for God – consider when Jonathon encouraged David about being the king of Israel in 1 Sam
God makes a way when there seems to be no way so be sure to share this with a friend to spread some encouragement! 🙂
I was thinking about how Jesus often didn’t meet people’s expectations. Mostly, He was a frustration & aggravation to the religious leaders, an enigma to the political leaders & a catastrophic failure to His disciples as He hung on the cross. In some situations, Jesus far exceeded the expectations: He forgives & heals, He repairs & redeems, He confronts & consoles along with so much more!
I find this to be very comforting because there are times when all of us don’t meet the expectations of others. With Jesus’ help, we can disappoint in the right ways 🙂