I love making plans. Whether it’s planning a getaway, organizing an event, or coordinating a hangout, I enjoy the process of thinking through the details. Making plans is fun for me, but I’m not fond of changing or canceling them. I’ll do it when I need to, but my preference is almost always for things to go as originally scheduled.
As beneficial as this quality can be, there are also times when it proves to be a great weakness, like when a situation calls for flexibility or when unforeseen circumstances necessitate a change or, most notably, when God’s plans conflict with mine.
You’ve probably heard the well-meaning expression “God has a plan”, but maybe sometimes you feel like that plan of His has been wrecked. If so, you’re in good company. Think of the disciples – the men who dropped everything to follow Jesus. At His invitation, they walked away from careers and loved ones in faith that following Him would prove worthwhile. Can you imagine how it must have felt when their beloved friend and teacher became the target of a capital investigation? Although the charges against Him were fabricated and the trial was devoid of justice, Jesus was quickly condemned to death, and all but one of the disciples scattered.
I don’t know exactly what was going through their minds when the early morning conviction gave way to Jesus’ afternoon death. My guess is that they were scared, overwhelmed, and massively confused. I would’ve been suspicious of God’s plan, and perhaps would’ve questioned whether or not He actually had one. If there was ever an event that appeared to undermine God’s sovereignty, this was it. What in the world is happening, the disciples must’ve wondered.
The disciple Peter lived through the nightmare of Good Friday, but less than two months after the horrifying events of Jesus’ death, he preached boldly about God’s mysterious ways, which had been clarified at the resurrection and ascension. “This Jesus,” explained Peter, “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23).
What once appeared to be a total derailment of God’s purposes Peter said was part of the plan all along. Don’t be fooled by the less-than-honorable circumstances surrounding Jesus’ conviction and crucifixion. Jesus’ death was God’s idea. The sovereignty of God knows no accidents or surprises because everything God does, He does on purpose.
Like the disciples, we are prone to doubt God’s methods and means. As Peter realized, though, God has a plan, and His plans are never thwarted. Because we know God’s character, we can trust that His unbreakable plans are also for our ultimate good.
A wise woman recently prayed for me, and I took note of her words. She compared life on earth to a tapestry, and we have a front row seat facing the back of it. All we see are the tangled threads, seemingly disorganized and overwhelmingly unimpressive. Eventually we’ll see the other side of it, and suddenly everything will make sense. Like our Savior’s death-defeating resurrection, what appeared to be a conglomeration of random threads will be seen instead as strategically-placed pieces in a grand work of art.
We can’t lose faith in God’s ways just because we don’t see the full picture. The tangled threads we so often loathe are themselves the very proof of His working. When He finally finishes the tapestry, you and I will be amazed at what He was able to accomplish for His glory and our good. When that Day comes, we’ll realize that everything that once felt so meaningless and disconnected was woven together in beauty, one strand at a time, “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God”.