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When Your Plans and God’s Plans Don’t Match – Rick Warren

My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways.”

Isaiah 55:8 (NCV)

Life is full of interruptions. Sometimes we have big plans—for a career, family, or ministry—but God takes our lives in a different direction.
When our plans and God’s plans don’t match up, we often try to kick down the door. Then things get worse.

Just ask Jonah. He learned the hard way how to respond when God’s plans and his plans didn’t match. God told Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh that they needed to repent from their evil ways. But Jonah ran from God and ended up in the belly of a big fish, so God had to rescue him.

Jonah then did what God had said to do, but when the people of Nineveh repented and God didn’t punish them, the prophet was extremely disappointed.

So God gave Jonah an object lesson. God caused a plant to grow large enough to give Jonah shade. Then he sent a worm to attack the plant and kill it. The next day, as the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, he expressed his frustration to God.

And that’s when God reminded Jonah of four truths to remember when God’s plans differ from ours.

God can see things you can’t. He can see the past and the present and the future all at the same time. He created time, so he is not subject to time.

God is good to you even when you’re cranky. You may have been going the opposite direction from God, and he still covers you with shade. God cares about your comfort because that’s the kind of God he is. He loves you even when you’re unlovable.

God is in control of every detail of your life. Your plans don’t fail randomly. God has a purpose in everything in your life. Jonah shows us that God uses both the big (a large fish) and the small (a worm) to direct our lives, but he is in control of it all.

God wants you to focus on what will last. Most of what worries you won’t be around tomorrow. God wanted Jonah to care about the salvation of the people of Nineveh, not a plant that would die the next day. Above all else, focus on getting God’s Word into your heart and bringing people into his family.

Just because your plans aren’t turning out the way you want doesn’t mean God isn’t intimately involved in every step. Ask God to help you see his hand in your broken plans, and trust him in his goodness as he shows you the way forward.

Talk It Over

Describe a time when your plans and God’s plans didn’t match. How did that work out?
If you look at the four truths from today’s devotional, which do you need to be reminded of most when you’re struggling with what God is doing? Why?
What are some ways you can keep eternity in mind as you adjust to God’s plan over your own?

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