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Friday, March 12, 2010

God's plans: How they start becoming our plans.

I recently listened to a sermon by Pastor Tim Keller on Proverbs 16 entitled, "Your Plans, God's Plans." In it, Keller draws out a misunderstanding on what of my favorite Proverbs, Proverbs 16:3:
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.

I've often thought this to mean: If I offer my wise, well-thought-out, even prayed-over plans to God, he will help them succeed. Ehhhh...not so much. Most commentators agree the sense is this: Radically commit yourself to God, to every circumstances He plans & puts in your life, and to the little things -- then you will find that you will begin to form plans according to God's will and, in fact, find yourself in the "current of God's will" (as Keller describes it).

Keller, who is 60, goes on to say that if the desires of his heart had come to fruition in his 20's, about 1/3 of them would have actually been good for him. Thankfully, the circumstances God ordained drew Him away from many of these decisions and He learned to radically entrust Himself to God in the little things & in the circumstances.

It's true, isn't it? What fool would actually be upset that the desires of his/her heart failed to happen?! I Thank God most haven't happened in my life. God has had something better planned every time.

I want to share one very vivid example from my own life. I converse with a Prayer Team Katie and I've assembled back in the States. They labor in prayer for us in this awesome endeavor of shepherding & loving Sunrise Community Church. Well, about 10 days ago I asked for prayer regarding occasional feelings of isolation and melancholy. One of the strange things about being the Senior or Lead Pastor of a church is that you are always everybody's pastor. If you meet your doctor on the golf course, the relationship ceases to be doctor-patient. Meet your therapist at a dinner party -- if you want to talk, let's schedule an appointment. Not so being a pastor - it's always a reality in every church relationship (and I love me my local church fellowship...would never want to do without it!!). So I asked for prayer on these issues...

How does God answer? I desired that he give me friends who want to take me out on their yacht, encourage me during my practice swing on the 15th tee, or love to talk about last week's sermon (oh, you mean that poor sermon I preached last week...come on...aw, shucks). Instead, He puts me through some a very difficult circumstance, which forced me to tears at times, made us question some things, and compelled me to depend on Him. I thought these circumstances would make me feel more isolated & melancholy. Not so. In fact, He used these difficult circumstances to rally other folks (especially other brothers in Christ) to encourage me, pray with me, and support our family. But each act of support & encouragement has related back to this difficult circumstance.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. -Proverbs 16:3.

Radically entrust your prayers to God, radically trust His bringing circumstances in Your life, and then You can discern His working His will all around you. I see it now. It's our job to be faithful in these little acts of obedience to His Word and to pray, and we don't need to worry so much...we will see His will...because we will find ourselves smack dab in the middle of it.

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