Best Laid Plans

Have you ever noticed how things rarely ever turn out the way you think they are going to? I heard it said recently that ninety percent of the things we worry about never come to pass. But I am not talking about just the things we worry about. Just things in general- generally don’t turn out the way we think they will.

I usually have a plan mapped out in my head of my best-case scenario in every situation I face. I tell God all about it and try to convince Him to see things my way. I spend an embarrassing amount of time in this pursuit. I cajole, whine, plead and present my case before the Father. I do this for myself, and on behalf of the people I care about. It can be quite the investment of time.

I am learning, as I see God’s hand in my life and in the lives of those I love, that as in the poem by Robert Burns,

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry] 
An’ leave us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promised joy.”

The poem itself is an apology by the author to a field mouse who had built its nest in the field only to have it plowed up by Burns. Obviously the mouse thought it had chosen prime real estate only to find it had made a really big mistake!

God’s plan for us is oh so much better than anything we could conceive for ourselves.


When we moved back home to Alabama my immediate desire was for my teenage boys to connect with mentors in the faith. This is just something that I believe in wholeheartedly for their spiritual wellbeing. They had left behind some great mentors in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I worried that they would not find new ones here in Alabama.

Once we joined a church here, I set about trying to make that happen for them. I’m good like that. We had joined a big church that connects people through small groups, and I just knew that would be the way my boys would meet their new mentors. Yet I searched in vain for a group that they would mesh with. They tried, I tried, and nothing happened. I spent a lot of time reminding God of how important these would-be mentors could be to my boys. Still nothing.

But all the while, God was working. After about eight months of attending the new church, my husband was offered a position there in production. It turned out that he would be managing production in the new building our church calls the Theater. It’s where the youth have church. Every Wednesday night more than 700 teenagers converge and worship together. Our church doesn’t have a youth group… It has a youth church! My boys started serving alongside their dad in the area of production, and began meeting the youth leaders and others in production that are speaking into their lives more and more all the time.

It is because of the youth pastor that my oldest son just went on a mission trip to England… with that same youth pastor… and about four other twenty-something males…. any of whom would be wonderful mentors for my son. Because of this youth pastor, my son will be working as a summer intern at our church where he will be spending time EVERY DAY with leaders in our church who will mentor him and help him grow in his faith.

My younger teenage son just took a job at the church working in the coffee shop. (Yes, our church has a coffee shop. Actually it has two!) No doubt he will meet other great folks who will speak into his life and influence him in positive life-giving ways.

I look back at my insistence to God and, frankly, I am embarrassed. I had to convince Him that I knew what was best for my kids, and how I thought He should go about making that happen for them. And my younger two kids? They are doing really great, too. God really is amazing.

As I see all that the Lord is doing in the lives of my kids these days, I just stand back and say…

“Or You could do that… which is really much better than what I suggested… but then You know that…”

So I guess you’d assume that I have stopped all my planning and scheming.

I am getting better. I do still work out scenarios in my head and pose those to the Father, but I also leave room in my head for His plan… which will always, without fail, trump mine.

How about you? Do you have it all worked out in your head? Do you think you know how the days of your life should go? Maybe you are facing an uncertain time in your life and you think you know the best plan to work it all out… be patient. God’s plan is so much better.

After all…
remember the mouse…

So what do you think?

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