Proverbs is replete with comparisons between God’s plans and a person’s. For example, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) and “We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.” (Proverbs 16:1 NLT) It is amazing how we struggle to cope simply because we fail to embrace God’s plan for our lives.
One of the things that amazes me about the apostle Paul was his acceptance of all the bad things that happened to him. Oh, not that he didn’t pray to the Lord to be free from them but that he embraced God’s plan for him. In 2 Corinthians 11 we get a brief glimpse into his struggles. He describes a lot of bad things that happened to him, including being stoned, whipped, shipwrecked, and thrown to wild animals. And then he says he was given a “thorn in my flesh.” He acknowledges this was all part of God’s plan. He asked to be relieved of it but God’s answer to him, as it still is to us today, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Jesus knew the anguish that was going to happen to him. I can’t but help think that by the time Jesus was giving his disciples his final words as we see in John 16, he was already in anguish. He was struggling. He knew God’s plan. Although it wasn’t something he looked forward to, he embraced the Father, he embraced the plan that had been put into place before the world had been created. He laid his life down that we might live. That is God’s plan.
We go through a lot of troubles in life. The question is, “Will you embrace God and His plan” despite not knowing why? Will you stand with Paul and say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” When we embrace the Father, His wisdom, His love, His grace, many trials may be thrown at us but they will–like they did to Paul–bounce off.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. -[John 16:33][john1633]