This week has been a good week, refining, but good. I don't know about you, but I'm a planner to a fault and get way too attached to my ideas. Typically the planning cycle goes like this: 1. Make a plan set goals and follow the path of the plan.
2. About 8-10 months into the plan God changes everything and my path is completely redirected and my plan is destroyed (usually this "destroying" of my plan is usually in the form of something better, but at this point I'm too dense to see it in that light).
3. Rather than trusting God on this new path, I usually go kicking and screaming, constantly asking God to reveal the next twist or turn.
4. Then when He doesn't give me a clear view of what's next, I tend to start planning again. Start back at #1 and the cycle continues...
Hopefully the majority of you are more spiritual or mature than me and are able to avoid this cycle, but for some reason I've had a hard time kicking this.
Lately I've been processing the tension between the wisdom of planning ahead and trusting in the Lord when things don’t go as planned. Let me preface with saying that I don't think there is anything wrong with evaluating your life, dreaming big, making plans, and then taking steps towards achieving your dreams. The tension I face is when those plans don't work out the way I planned them. When MY goals, MY plans, MY dreams don't match up with what the Lord gives me, my lack of trust in the sovereignty of God is exposed along with a misunderstanding of who God really is.
Dr. John Murray, former professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, states this about the sovereignty of God, "The sovereignty of God I take to be the absolute authority, rule, and government of God in the whole of that reality that exists distinct from Himself in the realms of nature and of grace. It is a concept that respects His relation to other beings and to all other being and existence. It is, therefore, a relative concept, or a concept of relation."
He is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. (Deut. 4:39)
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works ALL THINGS according to the counsel of HIS WILL so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of HIS glory. (Eph. 1:11-12)
Throughout the Scriptures we see a God who is sovereign, but also relational! In Ephesians 1 we are given a picture of our relationship with a sovereign God.
- He has blessed up with spiritual blessing through Christ (vs. 3)
- He chose us before the foundation of the world (vs. 4)
- We are adopted children of God in Christ (vs. 5)
- We are beloved (vs. 6)
- We are redeemed & forgiven (vs. 7)
- Our Father is rich in grace and he LAVISHED it upon us (vs. 7-8)
- He has a plan for the "fullness of time" to unite all things to him (vs. 9-10)
Why then, do I have a problem trusting in a sovereign Lord, who has a plan, who gives me salvation, who is rich in grace, and unites all things to himself (& the list could go on, and on, and on)? If I know that God is sovereign and I know that he is good, then why do I pitch a fit when my life doesn't pan out the way I think it should? Why do I feel such an entitlement and attachment to my plans? Why do I feel like God “owes” it to me to show me what He’s up to?
I'm not sure why I must fight this battle repeatedly, but until I have a right understanding of who God is and who I am in light of his sovereignty I think it will continue. Until then I must saturate my heart with the truths found in Ephesians 1 and keep fighting the tension I feel.
How about you? Anyone else have a hard time with this or is it just me?
Much love - Brit