God’s Plan Is Greater Than Ours

God's-Plan

The back of a tapestry can be jumbled up threads that don’t make sense at all, but if we turn it over, we find a beautiful picture. We can’t always make sense of God’s plan for us. We cannot always understand, but we just have to trust He has a beautiful picture in mind.

That’s so hard to do sometimes, isn’t it? To trust that God knows best? We may have big plans in our lives, but often God has another plan. Our plans are not always God’s plans. He has a plan for each of us before He even created us, and each of those plans fit into His grand design. He knows what He’s doing.


“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

If we look back on each of our lives, how many times did God have another plan than we did? Seasons of pain and suffering. Times of loss and heartache. Days of darkness where we wondered if God was really with us at all.

In the past I have wondered – If God loves us and all things are under His control, then why doesn’t He stop others from hurting us so deeply? How can all that pain be in God’s plan? But I realize now that God never wants to hurt us, but as humans we have a choice to choose, and some people choose evil towards us. Yes, God has the power to stop them, but sometimes He allows struggles in our lives so we will learn deep lessons and grow more into His likeness. We can’t always see it at the time, but in the end God always turns evil into good. He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us.

“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord, “plans to
prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Back in the Old Testament times, Joseph never planned to be sold as a slave by his own brothers or later to be cast into prison for years for something he did not do, but God had plans for him. Joseph clung to God and His promises and became a blessing to many wherever he was at, and in the end he even became a ruler who was the means to save people from starvation during the years of drought. That included his brothers. Joseph forgave them and told them how God had planned all this.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it
for good to accomplish what is now being done,
the saving of many lives.”
Genesis 50:20

In the New Testament, Mary was engaged to a different Joseph. Never did she expect God to conceive a seed in her that would be Jesus. She opened her heart and said “yes” to God’s plan even though she knew it would mean she would be slandered and scorned. And wow, look at what happened as a result! It was all a part of God’s plan to save us. Jesus who is God came down as a man so He could suffer in our place the punishment of our sins. God’s great plan of love, mercy, and grace to us.

However messed up or painful our lives are, God has a plan of love towards us. We will suffer troubles on this earth, and often we will not understand. But He is never going to leave us in them. He will help us through them. And when the pain is so deep, He can go to those deep places in our hearts and heal those broken, hurting places. The incomprehensible suffering He went through for us and His triumph over all evil will get us through whatever suffering we must go through in this life. And someday we will see the bigger picture and see how God’s plan is the most beautiful design we could ever imagine.

“No healthy Christian ever chooses suffering;
he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did,
whether it means suffering or not.”
~ Oswald Chambers

“All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them,
and all His plans have death to self in them.”
~ E. M Bounds

“God will not permit any troubles to come upon us,
unless He has a specific plan by which
great blessing can come out of the difficulty.”
~ Peter Marshall

“When God Has Another Plan”
by the Greenes

Lord, please help us
to trust Your plan.
Please help us to say “yes”
to Your plans for us.

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Gleanings from a Caring Community

ToNeedHim

In last week’s post, I told you I didn’t want to write, but God nudged me to write anyway and just be honest about being depressed. But even after I scheduled it to post, I was tempted to delete it. “God, isn’t it too much about me?” And yet I felt I needed to leave it.

Last week I was overwhelmed with worry, anxiety, and fear. This week I am overwhelmed at the love and goodness of God and the caring support and prayers of online kindred spirits.

So I want to share with you some of the truths I was reminded of or have been reflecting on because of caring online friends, people I have never met in real life:

  1. Trust your heart, not all the voices that speak against you.
  2. When we talk about healing and forgiveness, we can “think of it like manna – enough for today.” (Michelle)
  3. When you write real, sharing the pain or darkness in your heart, there are people out in the blogosphere who can be comforted, because they feel less alone and more understood.
  4. Even when you feel discouraged yourself, God can still encourage others through you.
  5. Birds are like “a big God hug and reminder He sees me, He is with me, and He will keep me and heal me.” (Hisgirl)
  6. Instead of rehearsing in our minds or words the bad someone has done to us, let’s remind ourselves of what we are to God. (Sita)
  7. God “is bringing you through the pain one tiny step at a time. This is a journey where we fall, falter and fail even as we lean heavy on His grace. It takes far longer than we ever imagine because wounds go deep and need a powerful cleansing and healing.” (Joy)
  8. To God, it’s not a stigma to be depressed.
  9. Depression can be “another stage in the process of recovery.” (Joy)
  10. There are more people whose heart goes out to us than we think.
  11. We can feel God’s love and care through others who show their support.
  12. Jesus is everywhere present and available and longing to help us. He is never confined to church buildings.
  13. When your focus is on encouraging others who are hurting, don’t forget to allow yourself to be ministered to.
  14. God does lift us out of the darkness. In fact, the darkness of night is like the day to Him. So even when we can’t see Him, He sees, knows, and cares.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.
Psalm 139:11-12

These are only a handful of what I gleaned from caring comments I never expected and further reflections. I can’t even begin to describe to you the inclusion I feel in a community. How my heart has opened a crack to allow community in. To trust and allow myself to be comforted. It sinks in deeper to me that opening our hearts to others who care, both in writing vulnerably and in accepting encouragement for our own hearts, is part of God’s healing process.

In the past, it was when I opened up my heart to those I thought cared or when I shared the truth, those are the times when I was abused, rejected, or hurt by silence. God has since blessed me with a loving husband and caring family. Then the circle went further as He gave me a few friends that believe me and support me, but sometimes I sink back into that fear and put up a wall of protection. But ever so slowly, God is opening my eyes to see how many there are who truly care who will nurture and encourage us instead of hurt us. Sometimes it may be hard to find a safe community or to allow our hearts to trust again, but I thank God for leading me to a community of caring online kindred spirits. You have made such a difference in my life and in the healing process. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your love and support. You are giving me a safe place to be me.

I was tempted to give up writing, but God has confirmed to me that I need to keep on writing from wherever I am. Last week as I started writing anyway, God slowly started comforting me as I tried to encourage others. And now since then I feel so very blessed by an online community of caring kindred spirits.

I also want those of you who read but don’t comment to know I think of you and pray for you, too, that God will fill the empty places in your hearts and give you hope, healing, and freedom in Jesus.

“I thank my God
every time I remember you.”
Philippians 1:3

“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)”
by Matt Redman

Thank You, God, for caring so much
and for giving us people who care!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews

Remembering God’s Power

Godpower

“They did not remember His power
– the day He redeemed them from the oppressor.”

Psalm 78:42

The Israelites didn’t remember God’s power. The miraculous signs in Egypt, the wonders of the Red Sea and the Jordan River opening up for them, and so many other marvelous deliverances He got them through. They had a short memory span.

The disciples had this, too, when they were in a boat with Jesus. (Mark 4:35-41) A storm whipped up and raged, powerful waves washing over the boat. The boat was filling up, and it seemed they would be doomed to the sea. And where was Jesus? Asleep on a pillow.

They cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” They didn’t see how safe they were with Jesus in the boat. Did they not remember all the miraculous healing they saw Jesus perform, even the casting out of evil spirits? Couldn’t that same Jesus rescue them?

When Jesus got up, He rebuked the wind and waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Immediately they calmed.

Jesus asked, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were afraid before, and now they were still shocked and terrified. You mean even the winds and waves obey Him? They did not know Jesus well enough yet, they forgot how much His power was displayed in His miracles, and they underestimated that this power was available also for them.

Both the Israelites and then the disciples failed to remember God’s great mercies in the past.

A short memory span. I have that, too. I focus on the past and present storms in life and blind myself to see and remember all God’s past mercies towards me. So easily I forget God’s power shown to me in the past, His Almighty ability to rescue me from the deepest pit, His watchful care over every detail of my life.

I underestimate Jesus and His power for me, even though He’s given me proof of it again and again.

I forget about present displays of God’s power, too. Displays that should remind me how faithful and powerful He really is. In the cold winter months, when because of chronic illness, I can’t go out into nature, I miss all God’s creation. I tend to sometimes get downhearted. But as I sit here and look out the window, I see the sun’s power melting rooftops of snow even when it’s still below freezing. God faithfully sent that sun and the power behind it. When I see bunny tracks on the snow, I need to remember that it’s God who gave His creature a warm enough coat to survive the winter. When the snow comes down, I need to remember God’s special grace, how He has the power to wash me whiter than the snow. I need to remember that God’s power is displayed in His creation, including us, even when we don’t see it or remember it.

Isn’t God amazing? He just keeps on giving and giving and giving. Even when we don’t receive or give in return. When the Israelites turned their hearts back to Him and asked for His help, He again and again showered them with His long-suffering patience and powerful mercy and grace. When the disciples were afraid, He didn’t hold that against them, but He again showed love and mercy. And when I time after time doubt His power and faithfulness, He is so forgiving, loving, and caring.

I know it’s not always easy, especially when storms toss us to and fro and blindside our memory, but let’s try to help each other remember that the same power God showed in the past and faithfully displays each day of life on this earth certainly has the power to get us through whatever storms trouble our lives.

“Who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:5-7

Praying Jesus’ ever-faithful power
will fill our hearts and our lives
and give us courage to go on!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews