Sunday, June 22, 2014

God Has a Plan

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Eph. 2:10

Do you sometimes wonder what is going on in your life?  You make a commitment to God to follow whatever path He has for you and He gives you a vision for your life.  Looking forward to accomplishing great things for God you head out and may even see some initial success, things are going well.  Then, something happens, as you move further in the journey it seems that no matter how hard you work or what you try to accomplish you can’t seem to make any headway.  In fact it seems like life is conspiring against you and you find yourself in situations you never would have expected.  Sound familiar?

You try to figure out what you are doing wrong that has resulted in you ending up where you are, lost and without any idea how to move forward, or worse yet in a situation that is moving you in a direction totally opposite of where you are trying to go.  You pray, asking God to help you get out of the situations you find yourself in so you can refocus on what you are trying to accomplish in fulfilling the vision given you by God.  You may even begin to wonder if you understood the vision given to you, after all if God gives you a vision and you are pursuing that vision; it should all work out right.  Shouldn’t it?

There are a couple of reasons that things don’t usually go as we expect them.  One, when you go out with the intent of accomplishing what God has set before you; you draw the attention of the enemy.  The last thing he wants is for you to be successful in your endeavors.  He will do whatever he can to hinder you, his intent is to cause you to fail, or at least give up trying.  Yes, I am talking about spiritual warfare.  I am not going to discuss spiritual warfare at this point, that is a topic for another day.  Here I want to look at another reason things don’t go as we expect they should.

First, let me say, I totally believe that if you are faithfully pursuing a vision given to you by God, it will work out, if you keep at it and trust in God’s promises.  I believe part of the problem lies in our perspective concerning what we see happening in our lives.  Too often we head out and, since we are following God’s direction for our lives, we expect immediate results.  When we don’t get the results we expected our response tends to be negative.  We also tend to try and do everything with our own strength, our way, or in the way which we think is the best way to go.

There is a different perspective we need to consider when we look at what is happening in our lives, God’s perspective.  God works sovereignly and providentially in our lives, meaning He is in complete control and He is going to execute His plan for our lives as He knows best fits into His plans for the entirety of creation.  Here is how He relayed this idea to the prophet Isaiah, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the Heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” (Is. 55:8-9)

That makes for an all-encompassing and eternally different perspective that we tend to hold.

So how does this relate to when things don’t go the way we expect or want them to go?  In this, when we become Christians we get a new boss, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, aka God.  We now work for Him and He has an assignment for each of us.  Our individual assignments are as unique as we are, but basically it boils down to accomplishing something great for Him.  Most often this assignment is given to us in the form of a dream of what we want to accomplish in life.

Remember, God is in control.  When God puts a dream into our heart, we have everything we need to start the journey; the challenge is that where we are is seldom enough to help us complete the journey.  In order to complete the journey we will need to go through a growth process.  Since we tend to rely too much on our own abilities and overestimate what we can do ourselves we don’t know how much we need to grow and in what areas we need that growth.  The good news is that God knows.

Since God knows, He will make sure we gain the experience we need in order to accomplish our dream.  This experience can come from any number of sources; the job that seems an ill fit for you and where you are trying to go in life, illness, accidents, failed relationships, financial hardships, and any number of other challenges in life. 

Don’t hear what I am not saying here.  God does not cause bad things to happen to us but He will allow those things to happen so we can grow through them.  Also remember, the enemy is out there trying to keep you from accomplishing your assignment, but God has us covered there as well.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28) God can use anything for our good and sometimes this is an opportunity to grow.

Would it help to know that others have had this problem?  Here is one for you to consider, the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.  Here is a very quick summary:

Joseph, the favored son of Jacob, was sold in slavery by his brothers.  As a slave he attained a position of influence until he was falsely accused and thrown into prison.  After a couple year years in prison Joseph is able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and is put in charge of preparing for the coming seven years of famine becoming the number two guy in Egypt.

Years later Joseph is reunited with his family when Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain during the famine.  Ultimately Jacob is brought to Egypt to be reunited to his son.  After Jacob died the brothers were concerned that Joseph would take his vengeance on them and the families they had brought with them to Egypt.

Here is Joseph’s response to his brothers, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about in this day, to save many people alive.” (Gen 50: 19-20)

Joseph had dreams which he had told to his brothers.  His life definitely did not go as he would have expected for these dreams to come true but God used all of these things to bring about His purpose.  God can do the same thing for you. 

As you move through life and things are not going the way you had planned or expected, look for those things you can learn along the way.  Believe that God is in control and will use these challenges in life to help you grow into the person He wants you to be. 

Claim the promises that God has made, align yourself with God’s purpose for your life.  In his book Dream Thieves, Rick Renner calls it Divine Alignment, when you come to a place where you begin to say the things God says and do things the way God wants it done.

When you enter into divine alignment with the words, plans, and purposes of God, you will see your confession come to pass. "Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23)