And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.
Luke 2:36-37 ESV
The above verse was part of a Bible study I am currently reading. In the devotional content following the verse, the author discussed how our plans do not always work out the way we thought they would. We have a plan A, but then that fails so we start walking Plan B. The writer encourages us to make the best of the option that we would not have originally chosen knowing that God has plans for us that far exceed our own.
And this is a great perspective, but God was drawing me a bit further this morning, so I thought I would share. In 2015, I was living my Plan A, but then through circumstances beyond my control, Plan A was removed. I thus began walking Plan Z (yes Z, because it was not a plan I ever would have chosen!) Yet as I began walking this new plan, it became my Plan A. I began to cherish the season I once despised. Yet that season also ended, and a new one began, and then a new one after that, and God knows what season is next.
So here’s the perspective God’s been etching on my heart: instead of thinking of our lives as Plan A and Plan B (or C, D, or Z!), we need to take the perspective of our lives as simply (yet not so simply!) God’s plan. Proverbs 16:9 reads, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Our steps are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 39:23). God doesn’t have a plan B; He has a purpose. He has His plan. His ways are higher and greater than ours, which means that even when our life does not turn out the way we thought it would, we are still walking His plan.
None of our steps are a surprise to God. God’s not up there thinking to Himself, “Oh man! She took a left instead of a right! I thought for sure she’d take a right! Now I need to figure out Plan B!” No, God knew our every thought, word, and action before we were ever conceived. He foreordained every aspect of our lives before He ever fashioned us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). God’s plan for our lives is THE plan, regardless of whether or not it matches our human expectations.
I know this isn’t an easy pill to swallow, and I understand as finite beings we will never fully comprehend the depths of God’s infinite wisdom, yet I also believe whether the path we are walking right now is smooth, bumpy, curvy, or downright treacherous–whether it’s a path we would have chosen on our own or run from if given the chance–it is the path we are on because God has ordained it. Therefore I encourage you to face today and every day with the following perspective: THIS is THE plan, God’s plan, and the one designed to bring Him the glory He deserves.
Yes, in human terms, life sucks sometimes. Plans change, people die, loved ones get sick. And in no way am I encouraging you not to mourn for those losses. Even Jesus mourned when He walked this Earth. Yet I am encouraging you to, when life throws an unexpected curve ball your way, mourn with hope. Weep for a time over what once was, but then get back up and continue walking forward. Continue walking out the path before you. It may not look the way you thought it would, but it looks exactly how God intended.
Trust in God’s sovereignty today. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV).