Two Perspectives on the Plans We Make
There are two perspectives on plans we make: Our Plans and God’s Plans.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. 3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
“The plans of the heart belong to man.” Plans here could be translated, the “arrangements or considerations.” Implied in this verse is an element of responsibility for us to plan. It is right to organize our roles, responsibilities and make arrangements for how we will go about doing the work we have to do.
Some people might take a very loose approach to life, just kind of taking the waves of life as they come, maybe even saying, “Let Go and Let God.” They might be tempted to treat planning like it is presuming on God or that it lacks faith. But faith and planning go together. The Bible encourages us to plan well. Jesus himself called people to count the cost of following him. “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”(Luke 14:27). This is planning where it matters most.
It is right to plan.
But look at the next line in Proverbs 16, “but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” One translator translates this, “but from YHWH comes a responding tongue.” In other words, we plan, but the response to our plans comes from God. God responds to our plans and brings them in line with his plans and what will be determined by God.
Big picture, when we think about planning, we should think about it in two ways scripturally: We have responsibility and God has ultimate authority and control. We should make plans. We don’t live like a surfer in Malibou just wait for the next wave to take us where we want it, but we also don’t plan like an architect and expect life to turn out to our blueprints.
All of us here had plans for our lives when we were 16 years old. Those plans might have changed a bit when we were 24. How many of those plans have come to pass? Who thought they would be here today— or thought you’d be doing what you’re doing today? God speaks his plan into existence in a thousand direction changing ways in our lives over the years.
God adjusts the plans that we make. Sometimes we were disappointed. Maybe you didn’t get into your first choice college or you didn’t get the scholarship you needed to stay in school. Maybe you lost an important job, and life took an abrupt turn down a path you hadn’t planned for. It’s right to be disappointed. We’re human and we live in a world where all our plans don’t work they want. Our plans are limited.
Trusting God doesn’t mean we’re just along for the ride, God uses our planning and thinking and praying, and God opens up some doors and clearly closes others.
We should be set free from the view of planning and decisions that make us put the weight on ourselves that only God should bear. We will not plan for everything. Sometimes we won’t know what to do. Even in our best plans, there will be the unexpected that arise. We take comfort in a God who is in control and who works all things according to his purposes.
Maybe think of planning like this: we’re taking our plans to God and saying, “God this is my best attempt at what I think I should do. But I submit myself to you that if you redirect even in wildly different ways, I want to learn to trust you.”
Or you’re saying, “God I made plans that I thought were good at the time, but now I’m not so sure. Can you help me to trust you and know you are still in control?
Let's make our plans with the realization that there are two ways to plan, but ultimately there is only one True Planner.