This past Sunday morning on our journey through Proverbs, I preached on “God’s Wisdom for Planning” from Proverbs 16:1-9. Here is the big picture of God’s wisdom on planning: Man has a responsibility to plan, but ultimately God decides what happens; so hold loosely to your plan and tightly to God. And here’s the path to making that your reality:
1. Make sure your intentions behind your plan are pure–to honor Christ.
2. Submit your plan itself to Christ–give Him total authority and control of your plan.
And here’s His guarantee: Christ WILL work everything out according to His will.
I want you to know I have personally experienced this to be true in my life…over and over and over again.
When I was a freshman in high school, I sat down and asked the Lord to give me the wife he wanted me to have. Then I wrote down on a piece of paper all the characteristics I would like in a wife…and some of them were crazy. Besides the spiritual pieces, I wanted her second passion to be sports. I wanted a wife that was more of a driving force type than a hopeless romantic type–someone who could run a company type. I had a height range, a shoe size range, a description of what she would look like. I wanted her to be chill about what the house looks like. I wanted her to hate gardening, (pretty much anti-my childhood chores), etc. I showed the list to my parents and then stuck it in a drawer as my way of giving it over to the Lord. No lie…Nicole is 90% of the list…down to the shoe size.
The 10% she isn’t is the 10% my 39 year old self would regret if she was–it’s the part of the plan I had wrong and Christ overruled it in my best interests! I can honestly remember the moment early on in our dating when she said, “Guys who write their girlfriends poems or make them mix tapes are so weird; I would laugh at you.” Another night when we were dating we were literally in the car on our way to an evening black tie event. We were dressed in a tuxedo and evening gown and were near Texas A&M’s baseball field where the Aggies were playing under the lights and she said, “Hey, honestly, I’d much rather just go to that game.” It was winter, we were freezing, I wanted to leave the game, and she refused. She was checking the boxes on my matrix without even knowing it!
When it was college selection and application time in my junior year of high school, I knew exactly where I wanted to go…Texas A&M. I never visited any other school nor got an application packet to any other school. I sat down and sincerely told the Lord I wanted to go to that particular school, but that in the end I would go wherever He wanted. Then I followed the best course of action I knew–I asked my dad and mom to pray and fast, and I acquired the application packet and filled it out. The SAT was looming and to motivate me, dad told me he’d buy me the tennis racquet of my choice if I hit the “automatic entrance to any public university in Texas” score on the SAT. I still remember sitting in the parking lot of the SAT testing center with my dad, moments before the one and only time I ever took the test, and my dad praying, “Lord, this is literally in your hands.”
A few weeks later dad walked into my bedroom with an official looking letter and said, “get dressed, we are going to go buy a new racquet.” I still have it. God gave me 100% of the plan.
There have also been many times God has vetoed much or all of my plans. In 2005 we sincerely needed a new family car. We told the Lord we wanted whatever car he wanted for us. Then we followed the best plan of action we could come up with–we went to a dealer where a friend of ours knew someone. We had a price range and of course a list of bells and whistles we would love to have. We drove home with a bottom of the line minivan. It was maybe 30% of the plan we wanted. The Lord vetoed bells and whistles that we wanted for some He wanted. The purchase price we got was miraculously low and the car was brand new. Fast forward ten years. Due to the price of the van, we paid it off very quickly. Because we got the van brand new, it has lasted ten years. And under God’s providence, the van has made it ten years without any extremely expensive repairs. Put those three pieces together and the financial freedom has been a much more valuable “bell and whistle” than the bells and whistles we wanted in the van. God vetoed 70% of our plan…to our benefit! No car loans for years has helped us in tremendous ways. Now the van is on its last leg and we are shopping for a new vehicle and we are so sad…because we much more value the financial freedom of some money in the bank, no car loans, no student loans, and no credit card debt. The Lord loved us enough to deny us so much of what we wanted, in order to give us what He wanted us to have…which in fact turns out to be WAY better than what we wanted to begin with. Thank you, Lord!
Friends, God’s wisdom for planning is fool proof. Line up the intent of your heart with Christ, give control of your plan over to Christ, and then just start moving forward. The Lord will work everything out. You have nothing to fear.
If you missed the sermon, you can watch it here: Sermon: God’s Wisdom on Planning