A Prayer for Flexibility in Our Planning
By Laura Bailey
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” - Proverbs 19:21 NLT
My phone buzzed, and my children’s school appeared on the caller ID. My initial thought was to send it to voicemail with only thirty minutes left in the day; this couldn’t be anything of major importance– probably, just one of those automatic dialers. But something told me I should answer, “Mrs. Bailey; your child has a fever; you need to come to pick her up.”
My heart sank, but not for the right reason. Yes, I was concerned that my child was sick, and I hated to think of her sitting in the nurse’s office, pitifully waiting for me to come and rescue her. I was upset because her sickness meant that our weekend plans were out the window. I know; I probably won't win any mother of the year awards with that admission.
The last few weeks had been incredibly busy for our family. My husband and I barely got a chance to speak most days, surviving off a peck and a few text messages to sustain our relationship. We needed a date night, and just that morning, a relative offered to keep the girls so we could have dinner sans three rambunctious kiddos.
On the way to school, I became more agitated, thinking about the numerous times illnesses or something else with the kids thwarted our attempts at some mommy and daddy alone time. Spending time with my husband is a good thing, and working on our marriage is vital, so why did it seem that something always came up every time we planned to go out?
In Proverbs 19: 21, Solomon understood the importance of having a good plan. He most assuredly ascribed to the “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” mentality. Maybe his reason for stressing the importance of a good plan was that he oversaw all the intricate details involved in designing and building the temple and other important structures in his kingdom. Whatever the reason, in Solomon's wisdom, he reinforced throughout Proverbs the importance of consulting with godly counsel, seeking God's will, and all the vital parts of the planning process.
However, Solomon also warns us that we mustn’t hold our plans with a tight fist but rather an open palm. Humans can provide the perfect plan, outline the right roadmap for success, or perfect their proposal, but only the Lord’s intentions will come to fruition. That doesn’t mean we should neglect to make any arrangements, abandon thinking about the future, or squash excitement for an upcoming event. However, we do have to remain flexible in our planning because sometimes our plans don't work out the way we hope. Sometimes we need the reminder that God's will trumps our plans (James 4:15).
After I got my daughter home and settled, I updated the sitter that we wouldn't be coming tonight and canceled the weekend plans, and instead of annoyance, I felt relief. More than we needed date night, God knew our family needed to rest and relax. The unforeseen illness and canceled plans resulted in a cleared calendar and reminded us how God works all things, good and bad, out for our good and His glory.
May we approach planning humbly, learning to adjust and adapt when things don’t work out how we’d hoped. Because God is all-knowing and loves us dearly, we can trust His plans are always better than anything we orchestrate. May this truth free us to hold our plans loosely and adapt quickly when things don't work out the way we hope.
Thank you for your sovereign control over all areas of our lives. Please guide us as we seek to do Your will by leaning on Your words in the Scriptures. Help us to be flexible in our planning, approaching planning with humility and surrender.
May we not rely on our own ability, leaning on godly wisdom and trusting that You're always working for the good of your people. When our plans fail, give us the grace to adjust and adapt, finding an opportunity to be joyful in our circumstances. Let us be encouraged not to boast about tomorrow but take great delight in serving you today in everything we say and do.
Thank you for your salvation plan, sending your Son to redeem your creation from this fallen world. We love you. Amen.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/ChainarongPrasertthai
Laura Bailey is a Bible teacher who challenges and encourages women to dive deep in the Scriptures, shift from an earthly to an eternal mindset, and filter life through the lens of God’s Word. She is a wife and momma to three young girls. She blogs at www.LauraRBailey.com, connect with her on Facebook and Instagram @LauraBaileyWrites
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