Monday, September 12, 2011

You Just Can't Surprise God

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 20:11

I have loved this verse from the first time I realized it applied to me as well as to Israel. That beyond all that is going on, all that I can see, God is at work accomplishing what concerns me. In recent days, I have wondered when those plans were put into place?

If God is working out his plan today, say, when did He begin that plan? Are there other issues that needed to be readied for the plans of today to occur? I know when I’m building something there are steps to the process. What I need to do next must follow what I did before. To be able to do what I’m doing today may have taken several hours or days to prepare for.

So, when did God engage the process of today’s plan for my life?

Joseph was destined by God to save the nation (or actually the family) of Israel from starvation. It took years to set up. It took a dysfunctional relationship with his brothers, a plot to kill him, a modification of that plot to sell him to some Ishmaelites, a transfer of ownership of him as a slave to Potifer, a false accusation by Potifer’s wife to have him imprisoned, a meeting with the baker and cup bearer while in prison demonstrating an ability to interpret dreams, being forgotten in prison until Pharaoh had a dream, brought out to interpret the dream, then made second only to Pharaoh in order to prepare for the drought and subsequent famine.

At what point was God engaged in working out His plans in Joseph’s life? Did He just watch and one day say, “Oh, good, I was wondering how I’d be able to work that problem out.”

According to Joseph, God had been working out the plan of that day throughout his whole life. And even though his brothers had been engaged in evil against him, God was using their evil desires to work out His ultimate concerns for the nation.

God’s activity in our lives today is connected to His work yesterday, the day before, and so on, back to the beginning of our days.

David said, “You knew the extent of my days before there was even one of them to count.” God’s omniscience (all knowing) covers the complete spectrum of information about our lives—the beginning, the middle and the end. The plans He has for us have been in place the whole way. Nothing has taken Him by surprise. And according to Job, “Nothing can thwart Your plans.”

If God’s plans cannot be thwarted, then He is accomplishing things beyond what I can think or ask. He is in control. The step we are on right now is necessary. I don’t have to like it but I do have to trust Him. Someday, we’ll understand how everything fit together and agree with Joseph that “God was accomplishing His purpose in my life all along."

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