Dec26MonDecember 26, 2016
Did you ever have a plan that you were so determined to make happen and then it completely fell apart? It is SO HARD to admit it even when others around us can see the plan not materializing. We keep scrambling, make some tweaks, but at some point it’s dead in the water. Sometimes Plan A is a bust.
I had one of those plans and it was called VISION 2008 for the church I was leading at in Milton, Ontario. It was 2003 at the time and I really felt it was from God. I saw our church growing from 110 to 1000. I saw at least 50 small group with 20 people in each. I had a vision statement, core values and the town was exploding. I had been reading about church growth and I wanted to see us expand our sphere of influence. I memorized the words, the strategy and even catch phrases like ‘transitional disequalibrium’. This meant that people who move into a community are very open to changes in behavior, habits and I wanted them to be part of our church. We had a window of opportunity and I was ready to seize the moment… but it didn’t happen. The year 2008 came and we were still trying to grow past 200. It never happened like I thought.
Moving on from PLAN A to PLAN B
Plan B is that moment of pain or recognition of failure where you realize maybe you weren’t listening well to God especially if you sensed the plan was from Him. It is also the point where maybe you were listening to God, but you had this idol in your heart called “my definition of success”. Plan B “the BEST plan” wasn’t your plan, you could never have dreamt it up, but it unfolded and became your gameplan!
Let’s do a quick overview of someone in the Bible who I’m convinced went from Plan A in his own dreams to PLAN BEST!
In Genesis we ready about Joseph the boy with a coat of many colors. His father, Jacob, loved him more than any of his brothers and Joseph had dreams of greatness. He told his family about them and it involved ruling over them. In his dreams, he and his brothers were binding sheaves of grain and his sheaf stood upright and all the sheaves around it were bowing to his sheaf. The sun, moon and the stars were bowing to him in his second dream.
How do you think his family felt or more importantly his brothers about the dreams? Remember, at this time, he was the youngest. One day his father asks him to check on his brothers who were looking after their flocks in Dothan and they decide to throw him in an empty well. They then decide to sell him for 20 pieces of silver to a travelling group called the Ishmaelites who sell him to Potiphar, a captain of the guard. He does really well here until he is accused of rape with Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison.
Right here it looks like broken plans, crumbled dreams and deep disappointment. So much for his dreams and plan A.
Through the power of God, he is able to interpret dreams in prison and most importantly the Pharoah’s dreams and enables Egypt to become a super power through the 7 years of feast that prepared the nation for the upcoming famine.
What can we learn from all this?
Hold on to your plan loosely
Jeremiah 29:11 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.
Remember this verse was originally given to the children of Israel while they were taken captive and in exile in Babylon. It didn’t look at all like a prosperous plan.
God has a great plan for your life, a plan that will bring peace and real joy that Jesus came to give you. If you’ve surrendered your life to Him and submitted to His guidance, you don’t have to fear when any plan goes down the tubes. Here’s the thing about the church in Milton. We ended up getting really involved with the women’s shelter in town. We helped move ladies out and get set up in a new home. Sharon also started a ‘Good For Nothing’ clothing store. It was a free clothing store for people in need in our community. The funny thing is that when people heard about our church and all that we were doing, they assumed we were a church of 1000 people!
Another reason that plan A doesn’t come together is that God may be protecting you from something. In our excitement to accomplish something, it’s easy to run with the wrong plan. Who wants to keep doing something that ultimately ends in futility? Not me.
Finally, God may be preparing you for something greater. Isaiah 55:9 His ways are ultimately higher than our ways and all things are really possible with God It was never our PLAN A to start a church in as strip club. We just kept listening to the Holy Spirit and God led us in to our BEST PLAN, serving and working with the people who live and work at the Manor!
Joyce Meyer gives some practical examples of this as she writes:
If you tried to restore a friendship, but that friend insisted on ending the relationship, God may be leading by closing a door. This may have been a friendship that would cause you damage down the road.
If you worked as hard as you could, but your employer laid you off, God may be protecting you from a job that would never fulfill His plan for you.
Just because something doesn’t work out doesn’t mean you failed. God may be using it to ultimately guide you into His plan.