Theology Thursday: God in My Present Plans

Man stands in front of the opened door in the sky. - stock photo

In This Article:

The Anxiety We Cause Ourselves

Do you fret or worry about your plans, asking these questions: Am I making plans that put me where God wants me? Am I doing what God wants me to do? Am I making the right choices? Am I messing up my life by making the decisions I am making today? What is God’s will for me? How do I know the next right step?

At different points in our lives, we ask many of these questions. They are good to ask, but not if they cause us to fear taking the next steps. They should merely help us keep our lives in focus, remembering how our worldview keeps our plans aligned with what is important to us.

Finding Peace in the Unknown

Throughout life, we face many times of uncertainty. However, it is prideful for us to think we can avoid all missteps or make decisions that will make our lives smooth. We will walk through times of sadness, disappointment, failed plans and many other dark days and may wonder where God is. No matter the circumstances, he is with us, wherever we are, even when all feels bleak. Though he may not help us avoid the stressors, he will be with us in the valleys and lead us by the hand.

If we want to avoid many of the pitfalls, a helpful approach to making plans is to focus our desires on God’s desires and expect him to guide us into plans that please him. We know from Romans 8:28 that our lives will work out in a good way if we are aligned with his purpose. When we are uncertain about the next steps, we need to ask him for guidance and be willing to change our plans to suit his plans.

In Isaiah 8:10, in the context of Assyria’s invasion of Israel, the prophet teaches that even in the failed plans or plans made in error, God is with us. He does not leave us to suffer alone. We do not avoid the consequences of our plans that are not aligned with God’s desires, but he is with us and offers us restoration, peace and hope.

Being Faithful

Proverbs 16:9 talks of the plans we make but states that God determines our steps. He is the one who will either cause our plans to succeed or fail. He is the one who ultimately guides our path. The question we must ask ourselves as we are making our plans is, Am I willing to acknowledge that I don’t know the whole story of my life and that I need to trust that a loving God will guide my path, even if it goes somewhere I haven’t planned?

Our wisdom is finite and flawed, but his wisdom is not. Because of our limited perspective on our lives, we need to make our plans with an open heart, remembering to trust that he will use closed doors, interrupted schedules, loss of funding, or any other deterrent to our plans for our good and his glory. Above all, we need to remember that he is faithful, and we can trust him.

Trusting the Good God

In Job 42:2-6, when Job had suffered significant loss and humiliation, he recognized that even when he did not understand or agree with what God was doing in his life, he could trust that God’s plans for him were good. From this account, we can also learn that we will not destroy the good God is doing in our lives. We do not know what God is doing or how he will use an experience, whether pleasurable or painful, for good. However, we can place our faith in his sovereignty and ultimate power.

When trying to make plans, the first step is to reframe our questions and put our future in the context of living under the lordship and leadership of a perfect God who wants to bless us. He already knows our desires and wants to be a part of our lives, so we could start by affirming his goodness to us, saying, Lord, I know you love me and have a great plan for my life. Then, we can lay out our desires before him, saying, Right now, this is what I want to do. Finally, we can reaffirm our faith in him and our desire to honor him in our plans, saying, More than anything, though, Lord, I want my life to draw people to you, and I want to please you completely. Please show me the next steps. If we can pray those prayers, we can be confident that he will guide us.

Even though we are asking, it should come as no surprise that he already knows what we want and what we will do. He wants us to include him in our plans, to acknowledge his wisdom for our future. And he wants us to be willing to hold our desires loosely. He also already knows the good gifts he has for us in the future, things we do not know. If we are confident in his knowledge of our past, present and future, and if we are confident in his love for us, we can trust him completely.

Making Plans Without Anxiety

Instead of peppering ourselves with worry-filled questions and allowing anxiety to build in our spirits, we need to lean into our loving God and ask to be led. Even if we have made plans apart from him, we can trust the all-knowing and all-powerful God of the universe to work to restore us and help us move forward, making and living good plans.

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Approved by faculty of the College of Theology on March 26, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.