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Glimpse of Grace–What if God’s Plans for Me Are Not My Plans for Me?!

    I have been haunted by a question, a possibility, an insight over the past few weeks. It was something Jefferson Bethke wrote in a book I received this past Christmas, Jesus >Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, ding More, and Being Good Enough (Nelson Books, c. 2013). In a section entitled “Not Your Mom’s Jesus” Bethke noted that when he was in Sunday School and attending Christian summer camps the counselors often tried to encourage the campers with two well known Scripture verses. The first was Isaiah 40:31—“Those who wait for the LORD will renew their strength; they shall mount of with wings like eagles.”  It is an inspiring verse. It is the basis of a beloved hymn often sung, in my experience, at funerals. I once used it in a prayer when I briefly coached a soccer team at a small midwestern college. They played their best game of the season but still got killed! If you do a Google search of Isaiah 40:31 you will find you can buy it  engraved on rings and bracelets, printed on tee shirts and embossed on coffee cups. All very nice, I’m sure, though a few seemed to be a bit gaudy for my tastes.
    The other verse was a personal favorite, Jeremiah 29:11: “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.” This passage has comforted myself and others during times of challenge and hardship. I even wrote it on notes to people when I didn’t know what else to say but wanted to express my sympathy or support.
    Bethke turned this “personal comfort” on its head when he asked a very simple but profound question. What if iGod’s plans for me are not the same as my plans for me! Ouch! Check please!
    Every since I read that I’ve been haunted by how I have attempted to “get” God’s blessings on my plans and my agenda while never once considering the possibility that those very plans may, in fact, be contrary to  God’s plans for me.  Believe me, this is a troubling thought! This very real possibility has caused me to reconsider many of my preconceived notions. It has shed a new light on my worldview.
    Although—as I have often said to others, given my age—I have more of a history than a future, it’s not  too late for me to learn a new trick or two—after all I am not a dog. Nor is it too late for me to make a course correction in my life. As a matter of fact, I am in the process of doing this exact thing. It is not too late for you, either. Maybe both of us—you who are reading this blog and me, have just discovered a glimpse of grace.

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