We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
Has any Bible verse so clearly defined these last few years? We’ve all experienced the unexpected! Canceled plans, loss of jobs, sickness, quarantines. It’s fair to say, not one of us has been untouched by Covid-19 and the effects of this global pandemic. Dreams have been shattered. Countless tears have been shed. Undoubtedly, we’ve all had our moments of frustration, anger, rage, and even despair.
If there’s ever a verse that I’ve felt connected with, this is it. My life looks completely different than I imagined or planned. I’ve wrestled with God as we moved across the world, from California to Germany and back again.
I thought I had it down. I’ve learned I could trust God through it all. Then, this Christmas happened…
This Christmas my family and I decided to travel to Tennessee. Because we’ve lived overseas, it’s been eight long years since we’ve celebrated Christmas with family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The planner in me created a “Christmas Gift Spreadsheet” with gifts to prepare. I planned events for each day, making sure we saw all extended family members and friends. I made all the plans, down to the minute!
On the day we arrived, we discovered that one of the relatives we were staying with was sick. The next day, we discovered he had Covid-19! Even with plans and precautions, vaccinations and masks, we all ended up needing to quarantine the entire trip.
I was heartbroken. And bored. Sick, but also not in my own home, while our kids slept on an air mattress for two weeks. My human spirit started to complain. I had planned and spent money, and this didn’t seem fair.
On New Year’s Eve, all of us sat around the fire and roasted marshmallows. We laughed and played games together. It wasn’t the New Year’s party we had planned, but I realized what a gift to be quarantined with some of these family members that we hadn’t seen for so many years.
I had planned and planned, but the Lord determined our steps.
Hear this – it wasn’t a bad thing to plan. It helped get us to Tennessee. Because I had created a chart and intentionally searched for gifts for each family member, we arrived with presents to give to the people we loved. Those are good things. But, what do we do when our plans are altered? How do we deal with disappointments, heartaches, and changes? What do we do when we can’t see or understand the events happening in our lives?
It can feel disappointing, disorientating, confusing, even hopeless. But, dear friend, it is not. There is always hope. There’s always a new day and a God who sees the entire picture. God loves us more than we can fathom. I am glad we can make our plans, but the God who loves us truly determines our steps.
I’ve never been as intentional with scheduling and planning as I have this January. Maybe it’s because I want a sense of control in an otherwise chaotic world. Or maybe it’s because my family has been quarantined these past two weeks and I’m going stir-crazy! Whatever the case is, my month is planned and prepared for! My Faithful Life Planner is filled out and organized. I’m feeling good! But what will I do when the schedule gets interrupted? How will I react when someone needs me or when the Holy Spirit prompts me to have a conversation with a person I wasn’t planning to speak with? Is God ever surprised by the things that happen to us?
I’m so glad we serve a God who loves us. We can make our plans, and then we can trust Him as HE determines our steps. He guides us; he leads us…May we trust in HIS good faithfulness this year.
- Read Proverbs 16:9 in several different translations.
- Memorize Proverbs 3:5-6 this week.
- Say Psalms 23 aloud as a family.
- What plans have we made this year?
- Have we surrendered these plans to the Lord and His will for our lives?
Chelsea Moon w/ the Franz Brothers – Trust & Obey
Guest Author and FLC Team Member
Holly and her husband Rob have just moved back to her hometown in California, after living for 4 years in Germany. While there, she met people from all over the world. While she loved her travels, she is happy to be home, doing familiar things again like taking her son to soccer and her daughter to volleyball. Holly contributes to our monthly ScriptSub and has known Erika and Becky since their college days in Chicago.