Thursday, January 8, 2009

Failed plans

I'd had grand plans of getting on snow shoes and stomping around the Christmas tree farm in back of the house today, and might yet if the weather changes. Right now, however, the snow is falling and blowing a bit too hard for "recreation" and sitting in the recliner with the computer on my lap seems like a better thing to do. Maybe the lake effect will pass in a while, the sun come out and I'll get those shoes on at that.
I've had a lot of plans fail over the years, some of them were the fault of the weather, some due to actions of others; there have been mechanical failures, heath issues, emergencies with the kids and a host of other reasons--and some were my own fault--but many have failed.
But as think back on it all, God has never changed HIS plan. He's had His hand on my life, and my plans, all these years. Never has there been a day when He wasn't looking out for my well being and my future.
That's not to say that I've always followed along in His plans. I'm certain that there were points in time when He said "OH! I wish he wouldn't do that!" or "No, go that way!"
Now that I've been a parent for about 34 years, I understand what the Bible means when it tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. My wife and I have often agonized over decisions our children made, paths that they chose. However, it was, and is, their own lives to live and paths to travel. When they were young we had more control over what they did; when, where and how they did it. As they got older, the control lessened and they took on more responsibility for their own actions. Now, as adults, we have virtually no control, only the ability to offer advice and present to the the pattern we believe is the proper one.

I'm not sure exactly how that works with God. I've heard it said that there is His perfect will and His permissive will. Essentially that He will bring us to certain places somehow, but let us bounce off the guardrails with our own mistakes along the way. I think that this is our poor way of explaining His great plan. He lays out the path for us and, according to Scripture if we trust in him he will make our path straight. That model works pretty well looking at my own life. It seems as though when I've let myself follow my own plans I started heading off on those crooked ways and begin to bang into the edges.

Hindsight here is a great thing. I am very contented and fulfilled at this point in my life. I can look back and see the path by which I got here, and also the places I tried to get off that straight path, and how I ended up back on it. Only the hand of a mighty God could have done that.

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