Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV1984)

“It seemed like such a good idea at the time.”

How many times have you heard yourself or someone else mumble those words?

A couple sits across the courtroom from one another. Eight years ago they pledged their love to each other ‘until death do us part’. Now, the pieces of a family torn by doubt and infidelity and emotional abandonment are all that is left. As she looks at him she thinks back. He was a good Christian man. He was kind, generous, forgiving. Someone she could trust. Now, all she felt was hurt, all she saw in his eyes was anger. What happened?

The story is the same throughout mankind. We have plans. We have visions of what life should look like. Sometimes we make half-hearted prayers to God for wisdom, prayers which are really nothing more than asking his approval for our ideas.

Our plans can be for a successful career, a healthy family, or a large, burgeoning church. But things don’t go as we expected and we revert to our own strength and wisdom rather than look to God. We begin to compare, criticize, covet and complain about each other and about God.

Somewhere along the line we’ve gotten the idea that God’s plan for each of us is to live a fairy tale existence. The frogs of the world turn to princes. The princesses swoon at our kiss. The ‘magic seeds’ of entrepreneurial efforts become beanstalks that lift us to the heavens.

Jesus spent more of his time encouraging those who were down and out than he did catering to the social elite. Why? Because he knew man’s plans would inevitably lead to failure, pain, discouragement and destruction.

As the Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, he assures us “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) But that promise came to a people who were in exile at the time and far removed from Jehovah God.

God’s plan for us, as for the Israelites, was to prosper them AFTER they endured the trials of their own guilt.

God’s plan for each of us is first and foremost to have a healthy, vibrant relationship with him based on living a lifestyle according to his word. Anything that deviates from God’s word is man’s plan and destined to failure. Anything empowered by his Spirit and driven by his word will prosper; prosper by His standards, not the worlds.

Whether you are in ministry, a career or a blue-collar worker take a look at your plans. Make sure they are measured by relationship with God and not personal gain or tradition. God’s plans never go awry.

PRAYER: Father God. It’s so easy to superimpose my own desires and call them yours. Give me wisdom to earnestly seek your path and not the path more easily trodden. In Jesus name, Amen.