Why Plan B is Plan A: Learning What God Wants for Your Life
- Monday, October 04, 2010
We have taken a verse, and we have kind of manipulated that. The verse is talking about temptation. It is not talking about the circumstances of life. Yet, we have taken that phrase, and we have made bumper stickers out of it and t-shirts and everything else. The reality is that God is going to intentionally put you in positions that are far beyond what you can handle. It is what drives you to Him.
CW: Can you describe what is happening when one comes to his or her own Jordan River, and why that is a crucial moment?
PW: Well, I think what is happening again is, we are at that place where we are facing what we believe to be impossible. We are about to encounter God in a way that we have never encountered Him before. I think the tendency for all of us, as Christians, is when life does not turn out the way that you thought it would, you immediately jump to, "God has abandoned me. He is not with me. He does not know. He doesn't care." So when you face that Jordan River, what happens when you are faithful and you trust God even when it seems like he is not there is you discover what I think is one of the most incredible truths in all of scripture: that God is powerfully present, even when he seems to be apparently absent. He is there.
It gets us to this place - at least I believe this - where you have to put your faith in God's identity and not His activity. If you are always basing your faith on God's activity, which would be the circumstances of life, then your spiritual walk is just up and down, up and down, because that is what circumstances do. It is good news, and it is bad news. When you place your faith in God's identity and who He says that He is, that is really when you begin to have some incredible spiritual growth, because you are basing it off of His promises and off of His identity and not off of His activity.
CW: Making plans for what we call "our" life feels like a private, individual thing. So how do you come to suggest that when you get to Plan B, you need community more than ever?
PW: Well, I talk about community in the book because I think that a lot of Christians, when they are in the midst of Plan B, run from community at the time that they need it the most. I think community is this incredible gift that God gives us in the midst of shattered dreams. It doesn't take away the pain, but community helps you reframe the pain. So it helps you begin to understand and see it through a different light.
The reality for me in my life is, like everyone else, I have had success and I have had Plan B's. I have had Plan A's that worked, and I have had a lot of Plan B's. Most of the success and the Plan A's that have worked in my life have not equated to authentic community. It has been a very superficial community that I have experienced when life is going well and there is lots of success. The authentic community that I have experienced in my life has been the result of Plan B's: crisis, and shattered dreams.
There is something about success that just tends to make people very superficial, and when you are around people who are in the midst of loss (and as a pastor, I have the opportunity to be around people all the time who are in the midst of great loss and crisis), what I see is authenticity. I see them being real. I see them longing and reaching out for authentic community. I will take that any day over the superficiality that I often see in circles of success.
CW: Is that why you say your greatest fear for yourself and others is a mediocre, unexamined life? Because for a lot of folks I know - myself included - that sounds like their everyday preferred schedule: for nothing to go wrong so we can go home and eat and relax and watch TV with an unburdened mind...
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