We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps – Proverbs 16:9
This year has forced me to reflect on planning for the future. Put simply, a plan is a list of steps with details of timing and resources, to achieve an objective or goal. However, it’s easy to become fixated on achieving particular goals our own way, rather than God’s. Now anyone who knows me will know that I love a good plan.. I love using my planner, excel sheets, the notes app etc. Where I often fall short is that I rely on my own way, rather than submitting it to God.
Verse 9 in Proverbs 16 tells us that it is fine to make future plans and purpose in our heart to achieve desired goals; but ultimately God is the one who directs our path. He is the One who establishes the steps we take. It’s taken a pandemic for me to realise just how limited our view of the future is. We do not know what will happen in the coming weeks and months. In-fact, we have no control over our tomorrows. But if we are living by faith and trusting His guidance, He will bring us to the place that He knows is best – not only in this world but in the eternal ages to come.
‘The Lord determines our steps’ is so key in this verse. Often the plans we make are deficient and nearsighted, but God in His grace brings us to our desired destination in a very different way. I’ve been in situations where the goal I’ve set out is pretty straight-forward, but achieving it has been so difficult. It isn’t until I reach the end destination that I realise why God took me on a specific path and the lessons He wanted me to learn along the way. There are even times when the goals we set are too limited and the journey God takes us on is to bring us a place of fulfilment that we could not have thought possible.
God promises to guide us all the way through our lives. In Psalm 48:9 we’re told ‘within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love’. The secret of guidance is a close relationship with God. Like any relationship in life, you know people through interacting with them. The same applies here, as we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. Through time spent with God, we build a personal relationship and grow closer to knowing who He is. It is in knowing Him that we trust the plan He has for us, which in Psalm 33:11 were told will stand firm forever.