The best made plans of mice and men…



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…you know the rest.  Why is it then that we put so much stock in planning?

As a youngster, I observed my mom faithfully go a day or two early to her Sunday School classroom to organize all her materials and leave an awesome chalk drawing on the board.  As an education major I was required to turn in  lesson plan upon lesson plan.   Even to this day, I over prepare for every class I teach, presentation I lead, activity I direct …and for good reason!  When my “bag of tricks” is empty, the students take over!

BUT, scripture tells us “Do not worry about tomorrow…” (Matt. 6)  We try to do what Jesus says and focus on the birds of the air and the lilies of the field so we can be like them.   But it’s a lot harder for us human beings.   Dates and times and places need to be a little more specific.  So, we struggle and push and do our best and then read “Unless the Lord builds…. In vain you rise up early…” (Ps 127).

Fortunately for us, God has a sense of humor.  He seems to delight in seeing us whirling away as He calmly places answers at our feet (or sometimes at our noses if we happen to fall in exhaustion!)  Slowly we learn that He’s in charge, but don’t quite get how to let Him do the planning.  It must be that it’s an exercise in walking by faith.

When I quiet the organizing voices in my head, I can hear His voice.  I don’t stop moving.  That’s not me.  God’s given me energy and ability, so I use them. But energetically I need to seek Him.  With eyes wide open I notice what He wants me to see.

The Lord has called my husband and I to Chile.  That’s a clear plan.  In the meantime struggles, stress, and even disaster happen on all sides, clouding the view.  Walking by faith allows us to anticipate God’s surprise.  Sometimes it’s a simple phone call or email providing financial support; or at other times an introduction to a stranger who exactly fits the missing piece of our puzzle.  Then there are situations like the devastating wildfires and earthquakes in Chile which become new opportunities to share the life-changing news of the Gospel.

So, we continue to plan, but remind each other that in our uncertainties and insecurities God will surely act.  Then we can be sure we’re following The Plan.  As I contemplated the age-old saying, an on-line dictionary expanded my thinking with this:  “If a little rain can ruin the best-laid plans of mice and men, think what an earthquake might do!”