‘Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’ – Proverbs 19.21From Sam Lomas:
Recently I was talking to some of our young people at St Pat’s about planning for the future. We started by asking the question: ‘When you were 5-years-old, what did you want to be when you grew up?’ Unsurprisingly, now grown up, most of our youth seem unlikely to go on to fulfil their 5-year-old self’s ambitions. This was also true for the leaders, all of whom were doing something different to their childhood dream.
It is striking, when we reflect for a moment on our lives, just how many twists and turns there are. Life is not like a journey up the M1 to Junction 29 (Chesterfield exit) which is a fairly straightforward road. Life is much more like a meandering mountain road somewhere in the Scottish Highlands or the Lake District. Where one turn leads you off … and up … and down … and round … and back on yourself … until eventually you arrive where you are meant to be.
The truth is, if in your life you find yourself twisting and turning, you are in good company! Abraham, Moses, David, Paul certainly did not have straightforward lives. Abraham almost sacrificed his son, Moses wandered the desert for 40 years, David had to fight bears to look after his sheep, Paul persecuted Christians and then became one. But, God used these times in their lives to shape them and prepare them for His plans and purposes. Even the seemingly dead-end turns you take in life, the Lord will use to work out his purpose in your life.
In the midst of uncertainty and confusion about the future, we can be sure that the Lord is still at work in our lives. When God’s people in Jeremiah were facing destruction, they were told that God had a plan for their future that was prosperous and full of hope (Jeremiah 29.11). In the New Testament, Paul builds on this for the Christian when he writes, ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him’ (Romans 8.28). The message is clear: God’s heart for His people is not to harm or lead them into repeated disappointment. Rather, using the twists and turns of life, God’s plan is for you and me to flourish.
A favorite quote of mine is from the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy, which goes like this: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” In a funny way, this quote seems about right. But the reason it makes sense isn’t by luck or chance, but because we have a kind, gracious and loving God directing our steps and experiences.
Consider today: how has God used the twists and turns in your life for good?