How often things don’t go the way I planned in my head. I mean, there I am with this perfectly realistic scenario in my head and all too soon I’m looking to God with questions of why my scenario didn’t play out the way I intended.
My life has been full of this cycle – from dreaming about shooting in the Olympics to training for the Olympics to the painful realization that my shoulder was messed up and I couldn’t shoot without pain and my competitive rifle career was over, to looking to God for answers – I mean, I thought the Olympics was His plan for me all along. After all, didn’t He realize how many lives I could reach with the Gospel if I made it to the world’s stage?
It sounds corny and dumb, but I believed all of that.
Even last weekend my plans and God’s plans had another head-on collision, but only one stood in the end.
I was in Louisville with the Murray State basketball team for the NCAA Tournament. The Racers had won their first game against Colorado State and the day before they were going to play Marquette, two huge upsets hit the world of college basketball: Mizzou and Duke both lost. Mizzou was in our bracket and, had everything gone the way most people envisioned, would have been the next “big” opponent for Murray State had both teams won.
Confidence pulsated through me when Mizzou fell. I just knew that was the Lord going before the Racers and making smooth their path, in my opinion, He had already placed them in the best possible bracket so I knew Murray State was going to best Marquette and we would be on our way to Phoenix in a few short days.
Once we arrived in Phoenix we would play Missouri then either Louisville or Michigan State in the Elite Eight, and of course beat them, then move on to the Final Four. I could see it all happening in my head.
I firmly believed this (at least the part where we beat Marquette) up until the last three minutes of the game Saturday when Marquette pulled away from the Racers and God, again, showed me His plans were not my plans and His ways were not my ways.
That lesson never gets any easier.
However, when things don’t go the way we planned, wanted or imagined we can take great hope in knowing it didn’t take God by surprise.
“Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” –Isaiah 46:8-10
He is sovereign over our lives and we can take great comfort in knowing that He doesn’t have a plan B.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” –Proverbs 19:21
“The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” –Psalm 33:10-11
He frustrates our plans because He wants our heart, our dependence and the glory He deserves. If everything went as we planned we would have no need for God and we would get the glory for our lives staying as right as rain. But we do need Him and He loves us too much not to show us that need.
The great news is that because He and His glorious plans (that work everything to the good of those who trust in Him, even if it doesn’t feel like it) stand, so can we.
“Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.” –Jude 24-25