We've all done it. We decide on a course of action that seems good. We plan well, prepare ourselves, make the sacrifices necessary to fulfill our goal, and set forth with great expectation and excitement. Alas, however, we discover our good intentions to have been at best a mistake, and at worst, a disaster.
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 16:25).
Perfect foreknowledge is reserved for God alone. For all others, including ourselves, we can never be sure that our decisions and plans will lead to a successful outcome. Certainly this shouldn't keep us from deciding and planning, but it does inject a healthy dose of humility into everything we purpose to do.
I'll always remember Mrs. Massie, a former resident at the nursing home where we conduct services. On Sunday mornings as our chapel meeting concluded, I would say, "We'll look forward to seeing you Tuesday for our next meeting." Mrs. Massie would invariably chime in, "If the Lord will, you'll see us Tuesday, Glen." She had Scriptural authority for this, of course, as commanded by James (James 4:15). Furthermore, Mrs. Massie had lived long enough to know that expressing certainty about days - or even moments - to come reveals that we have forgotten how often seemingly guaranteed outcomes in our lives have failed to materialize.
Our Heavenly Father would have us plan and prepare. He is Himself guided by His "eternal purpose in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 3:11). We seek His wisdom, motivation and restraint as we begin our endeavors. As we do, we may go forth in confidence, expectation and hope that goals will come to fruition as we desire, or even better. However, we also acknowledge the possibility that our best laid plans may crash on the rocks of disappointment rather than carry us to the summit of success.
God will be awaiting us at either venue, and He will be whatever we need Him to be in both our joys and sorrows. Our Lord weaves both fulfilled dreams and unfulfilled hopes into His plan to conform us to the image of the Lord Jesus. We can trust Him upon the summit or in the valley, and we shall see one day that nothing in our lives was wasted, nor that any moment found Him unable to "work all things together for good to thing that love God, and who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).
"He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.(Psalm 40:2-3)