Remember to read “Part One” first…
US Army Special Forces training is now based on how to improvise and find your footing in unstable circumstances, not on how to devise and adhere to a plan. This has become so much more evident with the Ebola outbreak and the attempt to have a force that can respond within 72 hours to whatever the outbreak might look like and wherever it may occur in the nation.
Everyone who understands economics is in retreat from the dangers and constraints of a “command economy.” In China, the preferred expression is “planned economy” (jihua jingji) according to CNN Business Report. But it really means the same thing. And the Chinese are becoming more entrepreneurial and quick on their feet than those “western capitalists.”
A “planned” life works no better than a “planned” economy. In a world where the half-life of information i steadily decreasing, the road to hell is paved with strategic plans and best practices. God’s plan is to always be there to pick us up. No matter how many bad things happen to us, God can turn those bad things to good – according to Scripture. Grace turns the very things that brought us down into the means of lifting us higher to help others see broader vistas of God.
So, try this. If it doesn’t play, try that. God wil lalways be there for you. We all fall. But when we fall, we have a fallback. God will be there – in, with, and under the stuff of our lives -every step of the way, for as long as it takes and as many potholes as we hit. That’s THE PLAN – that we will arrive eventually and never be alone as we journey along the way. That’s the plan: “The losses and the crosses are better means to growth in grace than when everything is according to our liking” is how John Wesley put it.
God’s plan, simply stated, is this: “I’ve got you covered. I’ll be there for you.”
No matter how bad things are or how big a mess we make, God’s plan is to never leave us or forsake us. In other words, God’s ‘plan’ is really a “promise.”
But we can’t leave it there. We love the promies but forget the particulars. Yes, Jesus promised, “Ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you,” but those words are framed by an important context. Here’s the full quote: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” So, “It shall be done for you” (1) in God’s good time – hence “abidance”; (2) for God’s good pleasure; and (3) for the purpose of our bearing good fruit.
The Bible is not the story of how to plan or what to expect in life, but the story of what not to expect in life – dead men walking, water turning into wine, missions impossible, and so on. The Bible is not the story of “great expectations,” but “great unexpectations.” This is why it is so frustrating when critics say, “But dead men don’t walk, but you can’t turn water into wine, but that makes no sense…” They are missing the whole point. The Bible is not the story of how to live life “normal” and by a plan, by the numbers, by the book. It’s the story of how to live life by the Spirit. The Bible is the story of what it is to live an anything-can-happen life.
More next time…