To The Person who Fears they've Blown God's Plan for them

Thursday, November 7, 2019

I thought I had blown God’s plan.

Years ago, in a church I once belonged to, the pastor did something I hadn’t seen him do before or since. He asked people to stand and share prayer requests or praise reports during the Sunday morning Service.

A man I had not seen before, seated alone in the seat directly in front of me, stood to speak. He had a cane and an earring and an awkwardness about him. He shared that he’d been clean from crack cocaine for days, or weeks, I can’t exactly remember.

I was blown away by the intimacy of the moment, his bravery, his strength. A piece of me wanted to reach forward, put my hand on his shoulder, and thank him for coming. I wanted to encourage him, reach out, make contact.

But I didn’t. I was afraid. Instead I went home without reaching out to that man.

I prayed all that afternoon that God would bring him back next week, that I would have another opportunity. But he didn’t return the next week, or the week after that. That missed opportunity sat on my heart for years to come.

But God had a bigger plan.

Five years later I met a man named Nick. We made quick friends, laughed together a lot. He was ill, and when he was in his final days I brought muffins and casseroles to his wife. Her and I clung to one another and cried the night he died.

It wasn’t until after the small memorial service, after she received his ashes back in an urn and invited me in to see it, that I understood. Holding a photo of Nick five years earlier, before he’d lost a bunch of weight, with his earring and his cane, Nick was the man in front of me in church that day.

God had given me the opportunity I had prayed for. In fact, in those five years God had moved us from our little country home on a dead-end road to a century-old home across the street from Nick’s house.  He had led me to a job where I would meet and serve and get to know Nick.  And He molded me into the person who wouldn’t miss the opportunity this time to step into Nick’s life, to step into the pain.

Friend, if you think you’ve blown God’s plan for you, you’ve probably overestimated yourself, and underestimated our incredible God.

God is in our missed opportunities.

He is in our broken responses and our failed attempts. He isn’t thrown for a loop when we mess up or fall down or disobey. His power is made perfect in our weakness, and the moments where we lose faith and mess up and forget who we are and what we were made to be, the moments when we must fall humbly at His feet and pray for another chance, those are the moments that God is using to write His story of redemption on our hearts.

I need this reminder. I have not been the person I wanted to be. These past few years did not go according to my plans, or even the plans that I thought God had for me. I am not where I thought I’d be, and I have been brought face to face with my own insufficiency, my own weakness.  Maybe you can relate?

But that failure, those fears, those mistakes and sins and losses that seemed to have thrown everything off kilter? They were not a surprise to our Lord.

Isn’t this why we need Him in the first place?  Because all our striving to be the person we think we are meant to be is not enough.  Our weakness is the canvas on which He paints his glorious story of restoration, reconciliation, and redemption.

Friend, if you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, you haven’t.  

Our Lord is not that easily deterred.  No matter what season of life you are in, or what challenges life has brought you, or what mistakes you have made, God is not confused as to how to proceed. We are weak and short on faith, but our Lord is sovereign and faithful.

I believe that God has a plan for you and for me, and it is so much bigger than our biggest mistakes. Because when we are exposed in our weakness, He is exalted in His strength.
There is hope for us yet, my friend.

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