Hey sis! What do you do when God’s plan is different from your plan? How do you cope? Have you ever been in this kind of situation?
It’s been about a week or two since I wrote my last update and oh, how things have changed. At the same time, a couple of things have remained the same, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about that.
If you need to catch up on what happened, you can do so HERE.
Through it all, though, I have learned one very important lesson.
Sometimes, a lot of times, God’s plan is not our own. God’s plan is different from what we have imagined for ourselves. His plans are different from the elaborate hopes and dreams we might hold for ourselves.
How To Cope When God’s Plan Is Different From Your Plan: God’s Will vs Our Plans
Honestly, I thought that I would be coming back to give an elaborate testimony about how God had come through in spite of the odds. I thought I would be jumping off tables and doing backflips because of the miracles I had experienced.
But you can probably already tell that this is not going to be that kind of post.
This isn’t meant to be the kind of blog post where I’m angry at God and cursing Him out for how horrible He has been either.
I’m not that kind of person and God is not a God that deserves that kind of treatment either. Life is full of interruptions where things just don’t go the way we’d want them to. Sometimes we have plans, big plans—for a career, family, a move abroad or ministry—but God takes our lives in a totally different direction.
To explain what I mean, let me start at the beginning.
Is Everything In God’s Plan?
Three weeks ago I handed in my visa application to the embassy. They had requested a credit card and the accompanying statement of limit as a means of proof that I could financially provide for myself while abroad.
This to me sounded like utter nonsense as a credit card represents a liability and I had more than enough money (or assets) in my personal bank account to support myself for an entire year abroad sans job. The embassy, however, did not want a Japanese bank statement as proof of financial means.
They insisted that I provide a credit card statement; something that I hadn’t needed in the four years I’d lived in Japan as Japan is a cash society. So I was counting on God to “make” the officials grant my visa using His divine power because I believed that this was in God’s plan, but He didn’t.
I had just reserved (what I thought at the time would have been) my final round of bullet train tickets to visit the Embassy when I received that dreaded email.
“Your visa has been denied.” it said, “Please collect your passport”
That was it.
There was no explanation.
There was nothing but one sentence in the email.
I screenshot the email and sent it to a friend of mine and typed one question, ‘What am I gonna do now?”
I was crushed.
My heart broke, and it felt like my entire world was falling apart right before my eyes. All I remember doing on the four-minute walk home from the train station was trying my hardest not to cry; not to plop myself down on the ground and lose it in public.
It took everything in me to not just sink to the ground right there on that sidewalk.
Once I got to my apartment though, the tears came. The anger came. I didn’t understand.
Why did God allow this to happen? Why didn’t He use His omnipotence to make everything work out the way I had hoped? Why would God open this door only to slam it in my face at the last minute?
I was angry.
I felt betrayed by God.
I felt lost.
How Do I Distinguish My Plans From God’s Plans?
As I sat there on my bed wondering what I was going to do now, a voice whispered in my ear.
Appeal? I didn’t even know where to begin and I felt defeated before I even began. As soon as that feeling of defeat washed over me, an even stronger feeling overwhelmed me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but God was telling me that this was not the end of my story. Though this had not been my plan, God was still using it in my favour.
I had made plans and I had worked out all the details. But God had other plans. It’s not that my plans were bad. God’s plan was just different.
For many of us, we often miss out on the big plans God has for us when we make things happen on our own.
It took a while for me to distinguish my plans from God’s plans. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile it in our minds when things don’t work out the way we envision. It can be even harder when we believe that we are walking with God and doing all the right things but keep hitting dead ends.
It can be frustrating and tiring. Trust me. I know.
When I think about my situation, I often think about the journey of Moses. I think about what it must have been like for him to be walking in that wilderness, day in day out, month after month and year and year.
As holy as he was, I’m sure at some point he felt discouraged.
The wait was long. The journey was hard, and it seemed like there was no end in sight.
Can you imagine yourself in Moses’ sandals? Can you picture yourself trying to hold unto a promise from God for years and years even though you have no physical proof of those promises?
I’m sure if Moses had a choice he would have walked in a straight line and gotten to the promised land in a week. But that didn’t happen. God had some things to do first and for that to happen God had to have his own plan.
Does God Have A Plan For Each Individual?
Does God have a plan for each and every one of us? Absolutely. God has given each person a unique set of skills, gifts and passions because He has a specific plan for everyone.
The bible says in Jeremiah 29 verse 11 that God has plans for all of us. Great plans. And these plans that God sat down and thought about are not meant to harm us.
These plans are meant to shape us, mould us and to purge us until we become the women (and men) of God we were designed to be from the very beginning.
Like everything in life that transforms, the process is never easy.
It often involves some degree of pain, pressure and most importantly perseverance. A large part of our walk with Jesus involves perseverance; picking yourself up after you’ve been knocked down and not giving up even when the odds are against you.
The writers of the song weren’t kidding when they stated the following:
“Nobody told me the road would be easy but I can’t believe He’s brought me this far to leave me.”
We can’t give up.
We weren’t meant to.
We were never meant to be the kind of people who gave up at the drop of a hat or when things get rough. As women of God, we are meant to stand and fight and show the devil exactly what we’re made of.
We are warriors and God in His wisdom (and divine plan), gives His biggest battles to His best warriors because He knows that we can handle them. God never gives you more than you can bear.
You were given this trial because you can handle and overcome it.
Can Faith Change God’s Plans or Ours?
Can faith change God’s plans? Or can faith in God’s plan change us?
In my devotional this morning, I was reminded of the story of Job. Job was a good man, a righteous man who did nothing but serve God and be faithful to Him.
Because of this, God blessed him richly with tons of cattle, wealth and children. He was happy and enjoyed life. He probably planned to retire and live comfortably until he went to be with his Heavenly Father.
But God had other plans.
The devil despised Job and wanted to prove to God and to everyone else that Job wasn’t special. He was just like everyone else. He only cared about his riches and wealth.
If he was put in the right (or in this case, the “wrong”) conditions, Job would curse God and die.
God knew different.
God allowed Satan to not only strip Job of his possessions and his children, but He also allowed the devil to strip Job of his health.
Job became sick with boils all over his skin.
Job lost his friends.
Job lost his dignity.
Job became an outcast.
Even though the devil meant for this painful experience to harm Job, it did the exact opposite. The enemy thought that his plans would have changed Job, but Job’s faith in God’s plan changed Job for the better.
It made Job stronger.
Job’s faith in God increased tenfold and in the end, Job came out better than before.
All Things Are Working For Our Good
When God changes our plans in favour of His own it’s not meant to break us down, it’s meant to build us up. Our faith is like a muscle.
If it’s not stretched it’s not strengthened. If you don’t take it to the gym of life and do consistent workouts it’ll never grow. God can turn any “wasted” plan into a wonderful purpose if we will only allow the process to unfold.
The bible tells us that “All things are working for our good.”, and it meant it.
God’s plan is always what’s best. Sometimes the process is painful and hard.
But God knew it would come to this. God knew you’d have the strength to overcome.
It’s okay my dear sister.
He has a plan.
What Do You Think?
- What does it mean that God has a plan for you?
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- What To Do When It All Feels Like Too Much
- How To Face And Embrace Your Season Of Singleness
All my love,