I was never very good at chess—probably because there were too many variables, too many game pieces and way too much strategizing. I found it difficult to plan far enough ahead and make the right moves to win the game.

Lately I’ve found that “planning well” has again eluded me. At this stage in John’s and my life, we face too many variables. Like: what if the house isn’t ready to sell in the next couples weeks? What if the doctors say we need to stay in Salt Lake for John’s medical treatment? What if we haven’t downsized our possessions enough? What if…? We’ve planned, re-planned, modified and changed our action points many times in the last several months. Just this morning I ran across our “Master Plan” and scoffed at how our present situation looks nothing like I thought it would be by February 2, 2017.

A man plans his ways…and the Lord laughs. So says a variation of the biblical proverb*. I always took it to mean that God snickers at our feeble attempts at planning. Not so much anymore. I believe His laughter (if He actually does laugh at our schemes) is more of a doting father’s who sees his child trying to work out all the angles and contingencies of an unknown future. I image Him shaking His head as we play at life like we’re playing a game of chess, trying to strategize so that we have everything figured out. If this happens, then I will do this, but if that happens then I will….

How silly of me to try to manage outcomes. How can I cover every possibility? I have only to look at my most recent “Master Plan” to know I fail. Again and again. If I go further back in my history I see how God has sometimes taken me on completely different paths than I had wanted. But always, He directed my steps in ways that benefitted me and glorified Him.

So…should I continue to make plans? Sure. But I am learning to hold them very loosely. With open palms I lift them up to the only One who knows the future and say, “What do You think, Lord?” With confidence, I move forward, sensitized to the possibility of His gentle hand steering me in a different direction.

(*The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 NASB).


One thought on “Plans

  1. That image of holding things (plans, ideas, relationships, jobs, you name it) with an open palm has become an anchor for me in these last two years. And learning that I don’t have to make suggestions to God on how He should answer my prayers. Imagine that?! I love you and I’m praying for you. (And I’m totally intimidated and completely inept at chess.)


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