We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Throughout God's Word we are instructed to trust Him in all aspects of our life, that faith is confidence in what we hope for but cannot actually see, and that if we seek Him in all things, He will direct our paths.
Sometimes, if I'm honest, this is easier said than done.
We've all made plans in life, no matter how big or small that have fell through and didn't go the way we expected. When this happens it can leave us disappointed, heartbroken, angry, and most of the time wondering- what next?
Maybe you wanted to be married before you were thirty and that hasn't happened for you yet. Maybe you were married and the plans of a long life together ended in divorce, or worse-death. Maybe you planned one type of career and ending up doing something completely opposite. Maybe you planned to be a mother or a father, and you're now sitting in a fertility clinic wondering why this has to be so hard for you when it is so easy for others. Maybe you planned to go on a vacation and had it paid for, but an emergency happened and you had to stay home. Maybe you planned to retire at 65, but you now know you're going to have to keep working a little longer.
I think you get my point-things don't always go as planned. And when they don't, what next?
Paul and Silas had a plan.
Acts 16:6-8 Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at the time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithyni, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. (emphasis mine)
Upon reading this, the first question that might come to mind is, why would the Holy Spirit prevent the word from being preached anywhere? Paul and Silas had a plan and it was a good plan! But the Lord directed their paths elsewhere for the time being. Why? If you keep reading, you'll find that they finally reached Philippi, a Roman colony. I encourage you to read the whole chapter for yourself, but I'll skip to verse 22 and sum it up that Paul and Silas were stripped and beaten with rods, severely,and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to not let them escape. But Paul and Silas, having definitely had plans changed, sang hymns and praised the Lord, even in these circumstances. At that time an earthquake came and the walls of the prison were shaken down, the doors flew off, and the chains were broken-not just Paul's and not just Silas', but every prisoner. The prison guard, having thought they were all gone, was going to kill himself, out of fear of punishment. But Paul saw him and stopped him. He ran to Paul, throwing himself down, and with fear and trembling asked how he could be saved!
If they had gone where they originally planned, had the Holy Spirit not prevented them from going, this man, and his family would not have been saved. We read that the chains were broken off all prisoners, and even though in this text we do not read anymore of the prisoners, I would think it's safe to say that some if not all had to have been changed by this experience.
Wouldn't it be great if we could all see what was just around the corner? If we could see that when plans didn't go as we wanted them to, it was because God had something better in store for us. But we can't know what is just around the corner and that is where trusting Him comes in. That is where seeking Him comes in, and that is where having faith comes in.
There is nothing wrong with making plans in life, but when things don't go as planned, always remember that our ways are not God's ways.
Remember when you're feeling beaten down over unexpected changes in plans, God has bigger plans.
If you are a believer in Christ, you always have hope. Because you have the Holy Spirit of God in you, He will direct your path. Embrace the unknown, draw nearer to Him, sing praises to Him, and watch as chains are broken and miracles happen.