Have you ever spent time working on a plan for anything and then when it is time to execute that plan it does not work like you planned it? Many people know exactly what I am talking about. We all spend a considerable amount of time crafting up the perfect schedule just to get the random person interrupting it or constructing the perfect grocery list full of health and thrift just to smell the fresh baked doughnuts when you walk in the store or maybe organizing every detail of your wedding date just to have a member of the wedding party back out at the last minute. Many of us know how this is and could spend hours retelling story after story to anyone who would listen. Well, today was one of those days for me.
This morning a group of six pastors (which I am one of) left for a mission trip to Panama. We spent the past two months meeting and talking and praying about the work we would do this week. We knew going into it that Panamanian culture is very different than ours here in the United States. We knew details would be scarce. We knew we should be open to God’s plan. We knew that we should be fluid and flexible. Tonight, when we finally reached our destination, the team was sitting around talking about what we had encountered thus far just today: baggage claim tickets not being given to one of our guys, the fear of having lost a boarding pass and a passport (two different people), the craziest game of walking in circles through a foreign international airport trying to get to a gate we had already been to, crazy drivers – those driving us and those driving the roads alongside of us, changes of schedules, changes of details, changes of lodging accommodations, and changes of pick-up times in the morning.
While this was all crazy and has made for some great stories and memories already, I am reminded of what God tells the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”
In this passage, Isaiah is receiving the words that God is doing things that you and I do not and cannot understand, comprehend, or achieve. God is reminding us that He is in charge and He does have a plan for us – and we may not even be aware of what that plan is while we are in the midst of trying to execute that plan. I was reminded by my grandmother-in-law of this exact idea tonight when I called home to talk to my wife. It was a reminder that God is at work and we are here to see/help in what He is already doing. We are not bringing the Gospel here like God does not exist in this country and working with these people. We are just partnering with God in His mighty plan.
Life throws us some major curve-balls, but too often we get sucked into the perspective that God’s plans are somehow less than or not as important as whatever we have planned. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. Our challenge is to align ourselves with Him and allow Him to dictate which step we take when. Read Isaiah 55:8 again and ask yourself whose ways are more prominent in your life: yours or God’s? If it is not God’s plan, then ask how can you realign yourself. Remember, His ways are better than ours. So, let God be God and concede your thoughts and plans to His. Anyway, I was just thinking…