“What’s for supper?” My family knows I don’t like to be asked this question (unless they see something cooking on the stove or smell it coming from the oven). The reason? Because very often I haven’t planned it yet!
There are plenty of things I do like to plan. More than a few times, my kids have said, “Mom, we don’t have to always have a plan!” And I agree; sometimes it’s great when there are no plans for the day or week – that is, that I’ve created.
God plans. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29.11-13)
God’s plans follow a timeline that He’s designed for all of time. The Bible records lots of plans that He gave to man – from designing buildings to who will build them to when they will be built; from who will lead a battle to when the battle will occur to the strategy for the battle; from when someone will travel to where they will travel to where they will sleep at night. Man-made plans are recorded, too, but those don’t seem to work out as well.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127.1)
In the Old and New Testament, God interacts with people. Not in an overbearing way, evaluating whether they planned Tuesday exactly right… but with an unfailing love, reminding them that He is always near. Likewise, He walks with us, already knowing what each day brings … and He wants us to decide to walk with Him throughout the day.
The Lord has plans for us and for our children. Discerning God’s preferred future — that is, whether to take the job, which extracurricular activity our child should do or stop doing, when/if/how to have that conversation with our child, etc. — takes practice. Thankfully, we have lots of opportunity for this! Everyday we have the choice to surrender to Him what we are thinking of doing – or just do what we want. Everyday we have the choice to invite God’s leading about a decision, a course of direction – or not.
We tend to go to God with the big stuff – a major decision about a child or our self. He delights when we come to Him for every plan because this means we’re talking to Him and practicing listening. In response, He grows us to discern His leading and helps us to see His way forward.
God is not expecting perfection; He loves us through our efforts, delighting that we are trying to walk His way for the day – and to lead our children to do the same.
“If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (Ps. 37.23-24)