I have been thinking lately about God’s plan for our lives as I read Spiritual Leadership, by Henry Blackaby. It is an insightful book on how to lead, how to plan, how to relate to others, and how to relate to God. The subtitle is, Moving People Onto God’s Agenda. Wow, that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Two things occur to me when I read that title. First, we need to find out what is God’s agenda. Second, we need to move there.
We are often stymied by the first necessity. Sometimes we don’t know what God’s agenda is – for our lives, for our career, for our future, for our family. We have plans and goals, but have they been tested in the fire of prayer? Are we truly willing to submit those plans and goals to God’s gaze and change them as needed, modify them, or scrap them altogether?
Our oldest son joined the Navy, planning to serve at least four years. His plans didn’t work out and he ended up serving only six months. Our middle son graduated Eastern University with a degree in communications studies, and he’s currently working for a lawn care company. And our youngest son had plans to go to Yale when he was in middle school – he now attends the college where I teach, Hudson County Community College. They each had a plan, an agenda. But God has other plans for their lives. They are in the process of figuring out what is God’s agenda for their lives.
My husband Bill and I left the church where he served as pastor for 15 years in 2003. Bill did not plan to pastor another church. Working full-time for Prison Fellowship was fulfilling, he enjoyed the ministry, and he was using his gifts. God had another plan. When he was called to serve as the pastor at a multi-cultural church in Jersey City, we answered the call. Moving from New York City, where Bill was born and raised, across the Hudson River to New Jersey, was not a lengthy trip, but it was a sea-change for Bill. I had hoped to have a publisher for my historical novel by this time… but my agent is still shopping the manuscript. We have plans, but often God has another plan, and it’s always a better plan.
God had a plan for Sarai’s life – He told her she would give birth in her old age and be the mother of countless generations. Sarai at first didn’t believe God, then adopted His agenda as her own. The only problem was, she adopted God’s plan but didn’t wait for God’s timing. Sarai reasoned,
” ‘See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.” Genesis 16:2
But here’s the thing. We can’t follow our own agenda to complete God’s plans in our lives. We need to follow His agenda.
” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11
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