Lately, I have a few things in my life that are uncertain, and I hate not knowing what is to come. I am not very spontaneous…laid back and pretty go-with-the-flow, but I like to have some sort of plan and direction. I also hate the feeling of anyone being upset with me or even the idea that they might be. Recently I pursued some pathways I felt the Lord had laid out for me, but found myself questioning if I had done the right thing:
“What if I’ve messed up God’s plan? What if I’ve made ____ mad at me? What if???”
And y’all it’s like I got a big bite of humble pie as the Lord reminded me that I’m not important enough or big enough or powerful enough to mess up anything that He has set in motion.
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I sometimes forget that in spite of me, the Lord has a plan. He tells me that so much. “I have a plan Maggie…just wait.” But you know how it goes…His plans (and His timing) rarely look like our own. He asks us to go down unfamiliar, and often uncomfortable, roads in order to use us for His glory. We stutter and struggle and finally build up enough courage to obey only to find out that our destination isn’t even at the end of that difficult road! That road only leads to the turn towards the next road and there may be another and another before we reach the place the Lord is leading us.
Oftentimes His plan doesn’t make sense to us, but only because we can’t see the Master’s plan. This morning I asked the Lord to give me comfort where He has me, and I turned to read in Jonah. As I moved through the chapter, there it was again and again:
“Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah…” Jonah 1:17
“And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there…
But God also arranged for a worm!…
And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow…” Jonah 4:6-8
Y’all, arrange means to put things in a neat, attractive, or required order or to organize or make plans for a future event. Isn’t that amazing?!?
Our God is not a God of chaos or randomness. He doesn’t decide on a whim to do anything. A whale didn’t just show up to swallow Jonah! The Lord arranged it because there was more to come. And don’t miss this: the Lord was still working in spite of Jonah’s disobedience. It all had to happen in a required order for His greater purposes. If Jonah hadn’t been swallowed at that perfect time, the rest of the plan for the people of Ninevah wouldn’t have fallen into place.
And once Jonah followed through with the Lord’s first command and the people of Ninevah repented, the story still wasn’t finished. Now the Lord had to deal with him! Jonah didn’t just sit by a plant and then a random worm came along and then it got really hot…the Lord arranged all of it.
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Y’all, it gives me so much comfort to know that nothing in my day is a coincidence. Behind the scenes, unbeknownst to the millions of us just making it through the day, the Lord is arranging every detail, in a required order, for a future plan. Every phone call. Every encounter. Every missed opportunity. Even if we make bad choices along the way.
I have to trust that the Lord knows my heart and that He will direct my steps for my good, even if some of them are hard or uncomfortable. Take comfort in that y’all.
Don’t fear or fret or worry what the next minute holds, but trust that the same God who has carried you this far will carry you the rest of the way. If you’re in the middle of a long dusty road with no end in sight, be ready for the next turn that might be right around the bend. And trust that He is arranging every step…in order…for His master plan.
Maggie Meadows Cooper
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at The Little Moments and contributes to IBelieve Truth: A Devotional for Women, Devotional Diva, and the Connecting Ministries Blog. ! She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.