June 12, 2013
A Better Way Than My Own
"The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me." Psalm 138:8 (NLT)
When I was five years old, my mother took me to kindergarten in the middle of the school year. She prepared me for my new adventure by promising fun and many new friends. Fighting tug-of-war emotions, anticipation pulling against apprehension, I entered the room full of children.
While acclimating to my new environment, I decided to speed up the making-a-lot-of-friends process. Eager to be accepted, I couldn't wait to be noticed and included. I devised an interesting plan that would have every kindergartener eating out of my hand, literally.
Each morning before recess, students lined up in front of the school store to buy mid-morning snacks. Noticing that donuts were the treat of choice, my mind whirred.
That afternoon, alone in the back seat with my mother's purse, my plan began to hatch. My little hand slipped into her wallet and pulled out a dollar. Surely that was enough to buy everyone a donut.
The next day, exploding with eagerness, I pushed my way to the front of the line. Handing my dollar up to an open hand I said, "A bag of donuts, please."
"Are you sure little girl? A bag full? That's a lot. No one ever buys that many donuts!"
I nodded my head. "Yes, one for everyone in my class and one for Teacher."
Slowly the treasured bag of donuts slipped over the side of the counter.
Stepping aside, I announced, "My treat!"
Mouths dropped. Eyes flew open. Little hands extended. Classmates surrounded me, the instant celebrity.
I felt good! Just as planned. Now, I had friends.
After school, when my mom walked into class to pick me up, my teacher asked everyone to thank her. The look of surprise on my mother's face exposed me. My secret was out.
I was a criminal. A thief. I had stolen money from my mother!
How had a perfectly well-planned strategy gone so wrong?
The Bible is full of stories of people who devised seemingly good plans. In too many circumstances strategies were flawed—like mine. In other situations people wisely relied on God.
Psalm 138:8 says that God will work out His plans for my life. I don't have to manipulate, plot and devise.
Regardless of my desperate circumstances, anxiety, or longing, there is a better way than my own. One popular Bible story encourages me to pray and then wait on the Lord.
Moses' mother and his sister, Miriam, expected that God would protect baby Moses when they put him in a basket and sent it down the Nile River, hoping to hide him from a murderous ruler.
Miriam watched the baby float away, all the while waiting for God to take control of the desperate situation. His sister's faith was rewarded by an amazing turn of events and his mother's trust in God paved the way for a Hebrew slave to become an Egyptian ruler (Exodus 2:1-10). This would not have happened without Moses' mother's and sister's patience and dependence on God.
It's easy to rush to fix our own circumstances—contriving for the outcome we desire. But too often, in so doing, we tangle ourselves into ever-growing webs and create trouble or chaos. Let's learn from Moses' wise family by following their pattern:
• Expecting God to act.
• Waiting for God to deliver.
• Trusting that God's timing is best.
I don't know what spurs you on to contrive, manipulate or plot. If you are like me, any circumstance where you find yourself out of control, desperate or confused will tempt you to scheme.
Let's determine today to believe this truth, "The LORD will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me" (Psalm 138:8). And rest in His promises, committing to trusting God whenever tempted to influence our uncomfortable conditions.
Lord God, I know You will work out Your plans for my life, but I need help to believe in the midst of desperate circumstances. In Jesus' Name, I ask You to give me strength to accept Your timing and Your ways during this unsettling time in my life. Amen.
Visit Van Walton's blog for insight on waiting instead of manipulating.
From the Pound to the Palace DVD is a delightful children's story that encourages little ones to trust God during difficult times.
Reflect and Respond:
What circumstances have brought on emotions that drive you to devise your own plans? How did that work for you?
Next time you are tempted to fix a problem, stop. Ask God for wisdom and seek counsel from a trusted friend.
Psalm 94:11, "The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile." (NIV)
Proverbs 19:21, "Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand." (NASB)
© 2013 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105