By Henry McLaughlin
Several years ago, I had a plan and I was living it out. My plan was to work my second career for a Christian ministry until I retired and then enjoy a life of leisure. I was also writing as a side gig. Even I knew better than to quit my day job.
But God had other ideas. And I didn’t particularly agree with them.
The situation reminded me of the story in Acts 16:6 where Paul wanted to preach in Asia, but the Holy Spirit prevented him.
His plan wasn’t my plan.
I chose to follow him. I really didn’t have a better alternative and I don’t think I could have talked him out of his plan anyway.
And he took care of me. He arranged for me to leave the ministry and to pursue writing full time. He planned each detail including making certain I had no gap in insurance coverage. He showed me he would meet my financial needs and have money left over to continue giving generously, more than I expected.
He needed two things from me. I had to let go of my ego and be flexible. And I had to trust him as he sent me off in an unexpected direction.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT reminds us, We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
I had to line up my steps with his. I look back now and see the disaster I might have ended up in if I’d stuck to my plan.
He changed my plan because he had a new purpose for me. Since he made the change the change, my wife and I are now more involved in Church than ever, particularly in the area of stewardship and helping people achieve financial freedom. He’s even opened new doors in writing to teach and coach and mentor, opportunities that wouldn’t be there if I had stuck to my agenda.
What I Learned
One Don’t be stubborn or prideful. Don’t rely on my own intellect. Stay in communication with him. Spend time building relationship with him. Rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me.
Two Remain open and obedient. Even when I’m not sure or don’t understand. This is where our faith and trust in him are vital. I still make plans. Now I commit them to him and follow his guidance. I don’t want to miss him.
Three Meditate on this Scripture from Proverbs 19:21 NLT You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. I make his purpose my purpose. And I remind myself he has a much better way of achieving it than I could ever devise.
“Comprehending God’s plan can wait; obeying God’s will cannot.” (Cara Whitney in Unbridled Faith, Thomas Nelson, 2018)
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Henry McLaughlin’s debut novel, Journey to Riverbend, won the 2009 Operation First Novel contest. He serves as Associate Director of Story Help Groups (formerly North Texas Christian Writers). Besides writing fiction, Henry edits novels, leads critique groups, and teaches at conferences and workshops. He enjoys mentoring and coaching individual writers.