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When God Changes Our Plans

By Henry McLaughlin

Several years ago, I had a plan and I was living it out. My plan was to work my second career for a Christian ministry until I retired and then enjoy a life of leisure. I was also writing as a side gig. Even I knew better than to quit my day job.

But God had other ideas. And I didn’t particularly agree with them.

The situation reminded me of the story in Acts 16:6 where Paul wanted to preach in Asia, but the Holy Spirit prevented him.

His plan wasn’t my plan.

I chose to follow him. I really didn’t have a better alternative and I don’t think I could have talked him out of his plan anyway.

And he took care of me. He arranged for me to leave the ministry and to pursue writing full time. He planned each detail including making certain I had no gap in insurance coverage. He showed me he would meet my financial needs and have money left over to continue giving generously, more than I expected.
He needed two things from me. I had to let go of my ego and be flexible. And I had to trust him as he sent me off in an unexpected direction.

Proverbs 16:9 NLT reminds us, We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

I had to line up my steps with his. I look back now and see the disaster I might have ended up in if I’d stuck to my plan.

He changed my plan because he had a new purpose for me. Since he made the change the change, my wife and I are now more involved in Church than ever, particularly in the area of stewardship and helping people achieve financial freedom. He’s even opened new doors in writing to teach and coach and mentor, opportunities that wouldn’t be there if I had stuck to my agenda.

What I Learned

One Don’t be stubborn or prideful. Don’t rely on my own intellect. Stay in communication with him. Spend time building relationship with him. Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me.

Two Remain open and obedient. Even when I’m not sure or don’t understand. This is where our faith and trust in him are vital. I still make plans. Now I commit them to him and follow his guidance. I don’t want to miss him.

Three Meditate on this Scripture from Proverbs 19:21 NLT You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. I make his purpose my purpose. And I remind myself he has a much better way of achieving it than I could ever devise.

“Comprehending God’s plan can wait; obeying God’s will cannot.” (Cara Whitney in Unbridled Faith, Thomas Nelson, 2018)

When was the last time you let go of your plans and let God determine your steps?

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Henry McLaughlin’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest. He serves as Associate Director of Story Help Groups (formerly North Texas Christian Writers). Besides writing fiction, Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers.

 

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3 Responses to When God Changes Our Plans

  1. Solid truth, well-thought and well-written.

    Things right now are not the stuff
    to what I thought my life was true.
    God disposes, but man, it’s tough
    and I have to trust Him up the blue.
    Cancer stopped my fine career,
    and all insurance fell away
    leaving choice ‘tween abject fear
    and “In His strength, there is a way.”
    ‘Tis hard, without pain medications
    to live through days of bitter pain,
    but without dire docs’ prognostications
    I make my own, and thereby remain.
    One doc who said I’m up a creek…
    went to his funeral late last week.

  2. Beautiful poem, Andrew.
    Thank you for sharing it. It inspires me!

  3. When I was working with a man to write his memoir, I did a ton of research and interviews, but I couldn’t figure out how to put it all together. One day, it just clicked. I knew how to write the memoir. I believe that God was holding me off with the writing until “the time was right.” After a professional editor read it, I had to completely change it because I had written it by topic, and it needed to be written chronologically. The memoir turned out to be a four-year project, and I had to take my time. Often, I get anxious about my writing, in too big of a hurry. Lately, when I feel anxious about writing, I have started praying until I feel calm. The anxiety isn’t coming from the LORD, and if I am not writing in His will, I need to stop writing.Thank you for the wisdom in this post.