Tag Archives: God’s plans

The Best Laid Plans (Guest Post)

The Best Laid Plans

by Steph Beth Nickel

Have you ever made extensive plans only to have them go sideways?

I know I have—and I’m pretty sure the same is true of you.

Isaiah 55:8-9 gives us some insight as to why this is. These verses say, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (ESV).

I know there are many reasons our plans don’t work out the way we intended, but I am certain God is involved and will keep His promise in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV).

I remember one incredible summer several years ago. Our finances were beyond tight and we really didn’t know what the future had in store. But I had spent hours in God’s Word and prayer and I could honestly voice the following realization:

Lord, if we have to be on the verge of bankruptcy for me to remain this close to You, then please keep us there.

Humanly speaking, we would rather avoid unemployment, illness, and broken relationships. But these and other struggles can result in tremendous spiritual growth. This is why the Lord commands us in James 1:3 to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

He goes on to say, in verses 3-4 to say, “For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

As Christians, we believe this on one level, but we find it hard to “count it all joy” when our plans crumble at our feet. It’s easier to look back and rejoice after we’ve seen how God was at work in the situation. But what if we could look ahead with confidence, knowing God will fulfill His promises?

Last weekend I left my hubby in Toronto for a weeklong stay. He was to have two hernias repaired (which he did). I had plenty on my To Do list and had no idea I would begin to miss him before I even left the clinic parking lot.

I am not typically a worrier and don’t mind sleeping alone, but that first night I woke us from a very troubling nightmare and was not at all impressed. (It might have something to do with reading a mystery novel before bed, but we won’t talk about that.)

What did the Lord bring to mind? That I ought to pray for those going through far more challenging circumstances: a lady who just lost her husband of many, many years; a relative in her late 30s who is dealing with throat cancer (and she’s never smoked a day in her life); friends whose marriages are in serious trouble …

Will God work these situations out for good? He will.

Does He use things I wouldn’t have planned to bring about His purposes in my life? Absolutely.

As His child, you can rest assured that He will do the same for you.

And as we make our plans, let’s do so prayerfully, asking God to have His way in our life, knowing His plans are higher than ours.


God’s ways are higher than ours. (Click to tweet this.)

Steph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel
(Photo by Stephen G. Woo Photography)

Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.

Whose Kingdom?

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”
Acts 1:6, NLT*

The resurrected Jesus had been appearing to the disciples, proving He was alive, and continuing to speak of the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

The disciples were still looking for the restoration of their kingdom: for the nation of Israel to be powerful again as it had been in the past.

God had much bigger – and longer-term – plans.

What are we asking Him for that’s too small, even if it seems huge to us? What are we asking for that’s a return to what was, instead of an expansion to what He promises?

As we pray and listen to God, as He reveals glimpses of His purposes, let’s resist the tendency to fit them into our own understanding and experience. Into the framework of the past.

Holy and omnipotent God, Your ways and plans are much bigger than we can grasp. We praise You for what You will do, and for how You will reveal Your glory. In this as in the rest of our lives, help us to trust You wholeheartedly and not to cling to our own understanding. Lead, guide and direct us, and make us useful for Your Kingdom.

Our song this week is Matt Maher’s “A Future Not My Own

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

God Has Plans for Us

The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8a, NLT*

I love David’s quiet assurance in this psalm. There’s danger all around, he’s calm in his confidence that A) God has plans for his life, and B) God will fulfill those plans despite circumstances which give evidence to the contrary.

The psalm says nothing about what God’s plans for David are, or even whether David knows them or not. I don’t know if this psalm was before or after he became king, because he definitely knew that plan.

God has plans and purposes for each of us, sometimes large-scale leadership roles, but also smaller ones in the everyday.

And we don’t need advance notice of what they are, although we try to insist on it. It’s enough that He knows, and that we be ready and recognize them when it’s time.

Father God, help me be content with the step I’m on. Help me trust You to make the next step clear when I need to take it. Forgive me for those times I’ve strained to see ahead and felt entitled to know what’s next. You know. Let that be enough.

Here’s a song of trust in God from Robin Mark: “All is Well,” from his Year of Grace album. It’s a long one, but it’s beautiful.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.