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I love to plan. Before making a decision, I try to be diligent in doing the homework and contemplating different scenarios. I usually ask for the advice of those wiser than I am when making my plans. I can honestly say that my plans are well thought out and impressively good.

King Solomon was an extremely wise man, very capable of coming up with outstanding plans. However, he admitted that, no matter how well intended our plans are, God’s purpose prevails over them.

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand (Prov. 19:21, NKJV).

To illustrate this point with a biblical character, let’s meditate on John the Baptist. God had a clear purpose for him—to prepare the way of the Lord. I’m sure John had an idea of how to fulfill that purpose: become a radical prophet, preach a message of repentance, wear animal-skin clothes, eat locusts with honey and set camp at the Jordan River for water baptisms. These were great plans! But I can guarantee you that being imprisoned and then beheaded was never part of John’s plan. So when he was in prison, he struggled to line up his plans with the purpose of God.

John made many plans, but the Lord’s purpose prevailed. He was not only the forerunner that prepared the way for the Lord; He was also considered by Jesus as the greatest among men (Matt. 11:11).

What do we do when our well intended and carefully crafted plans don’t work as expected? My first reaction is frustration and confusion. I don’t understand why God doesn’t line up with my super cool plans.

Before accepting the privilege to serve as supervisor of the Pacific Southwest District, I had wonderful plans for my life. I planned to continue leading the church I founded into a new season of fruitfulness; I planned to make a renovation to my home in Honolulu; I planned to have my kids grow up in Hawaii until college; and I planned to do more great things for the kingdom of God. But God’s purpose always prevails over our plans.

Many of us try to convince God of how good our plans are and to line up His purpose with our plans. We use prayer to tell God what we want. However, Jesus revealed a different way to pray and follow God. At the Garden of Gethsemane, He declared, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). In other words: “My plan is for You to remove this cup of suffering. Some of the disciples think it’s a good idea not to go to the cross, but it is not about what I want—it’s about what You want. Not My plans, but Your purpose, should prevail in My life.”

If your personal life or ministry is not going according to your plan, be encouraged today. The Lord’s purpose will prevail. And the good news about it is that God knows the plans He has for us. They are plans not for calamity, but for blessing—to give us a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).

Also, remember that all things—especially those that are not according to our plan—work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose! God is good and faithful. His purpose for us is good and faithful. When life goes not according to plan, we have hope that we are in good hands because of God’s good and faithful purpose in us. And instead of asking God to line up His purpose with our plans, let’s pray that our plans will always line up with God’s purpose.

Prayer Points

  1. Pray “not as I will, but as You will.”
  2. Pray for discernment and encouragement to know God’s plans for your life.
  3. Pray that God would make you open and able to release your own plans and follow His leading.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.nnnn

is the former supervisor for the historic Pacific Southwest District of The Foursquare Church.