For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope.
The verse shows that God is not only a Healer, Savior, King, Creator, Protector, Comforter, and other positions we are familiar with Him but He is also a Planner!
And what a Great Planner He is!
Some of us could easily appreciate God as Healer, Protector, Provider, Creator, Savior, etc., but do we really see His Worth as Planner?
Do we regard Him as the real Planner? Do we consider Him as the One who can effectively plan for our life, as we consider Him as the One who can effectively heal our cancer? Do we look up to Him as Powerful Planner, as we look up to Him as Powerful Protector? Do we believe He is the only Planner, as we believe He is the only Savior?
It’s time to acknowledge how we disgrace the Sovereign God in this aspect and should really repent of it. It’s time to value Him as the Loving, Merciful and Sovereign Planner. It’s time to lift Him up in our lives as the Great Planner not only of the material universe, not only of history, but even of our individual lives!
God’s Word asserts:
"This is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?" (Isa 14:26-27, NAS)
Can we just take those words lightly? Do we believe?
Who can frustrate the plan of God? What we tend to believe is we can frustrate His plan by our freedom of choice!!
When I was young, I chose the ambition to become a Catholic priest. Now, I’m not even a member of that church. Before, I chose and plan not to marry, but now I’m a father. When I became married, my wife and I chose and plan to have only one child, now we have a son and a daughter. My wife and I chose before to have a single-floor house, now our house has even “three” floors – we can even walk on the roof – it is a slab.
There was an instance that I was alone in our house, I suffered a severe attack of asthma – I could not even choose to pray, or choose to think about God because I could no longer breath and oxygen could no longer reach my brain -- but just as my physical life was about to end, my breath was restored and now I no longer experience any difficulty in breathing, not because of my own choice!
In fact after that incident, I realized later the folly that I struggled with death. I was filled with guilt that I desired more the air than the Creator of the air!
Yes, it will be more wonderful and desirable and pleasurable to be with Him! After that, I told myself I will welcome death! And, until now, if I have my choice, I prefer to die to be with the most wonderful, lovable and delightful Being. I can honestly say with Paul, “I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.” But it is not yet His plan for me to be with Him. (In our place, there was a story about a man who attempted to commit suicide in three different instances and he always failed, until he just gave up the idea when a priest helped him to change his intention!)
Who can frustrate the Sovereign Planner?
Of course, there are those who believe they are the master and captain of their destiny, even their eternal destiny! I would “like” to choose that kind of belief. It’s appealing to the human ego. But what had happened in my life – even in the choice of my wife and my job – I feel I cannot choose what I like to believe – that I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul! Besides, I feel my freedom of choice is so limited and even erroneous. Fortunately, God chose and planned who would be my wife and what would be my job, so they are the best for me (They were not my original choice.) Because the One who planned them for me is the best Planner.
Just think of Joseph, who was envied and sold by his own brothers. But God’s plan for him was good – to give him a high position in the human government “to preserve many people alive” (Gen. 50:20, NAS). The envy of his brothers, their plan to kill and other evil intention, even false accusation, injustice, prison cell and ungrateful cupbearer did not prevent the realization of God’s plan for Joseph.
And let’s not forget His plan for His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. We can also see many attempts to frustrate the accomplishment of His plan. Before the birth of Jesus, Joseph already tried to avoid becoming his future earthly father. When He was born, King Herod tried to kill Him. Satan tried to dissuade God’s plan by a series of temptation on Jesus. Even Peter tried to talk Him out of His plan. How about Judas who tried to undo his betrayal of innocent blood? But, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Prov 19:21, NIV).
Not only no one can frustrate the plan of the Sovereign Planner, but He “plans for your welfare and not for harm.”
Remember again Joseph who suffered evil in the hands of his brothers, yet he told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Gen 50:20, NIV). The deed that others intended to harm us, in God’s plan the same deed He intended it for good. Or what we may considered harmful that happened to us, God considered it good for us! (God does not measure or define goodness by comfort or convenience. We judge goodness by appearance. He does by motive. His measuring stick is so different from ours).
As we read, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28, NAS).
There is no doubt about the evil things – “difficult times” -- that happened to the Son of Man. But the good thing that was accomplished, because of them – “bringing many sons to glory” and bringing glory to the Father – is also unquestionable.
And when God, the best and Sovereign Planner, will “give you a future and a hope” – He does not limit His plan for us just during our lifetime. In fact, our “lifetime” – in this present life – is just His short term planning for us.
His plan is for a long range planning -- for Him, our future is not only 20, 40 or 70 years ahead of us, but for eternity. His plan for us is what we’ll be in eternity, not just for an insignificant 50, 70, or even 90 years in this reality.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will- . . . In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (Eph. 1:3-12, NIV).
Also in Rom 8:29-30, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
The really good thing that the Best and Sovereign Planner plans is not for an individual to be healthy, wealthy, be in luxury and enjoying comfort just for 90 or 100 years, not even for the person to become a child of a powerful ruler, or of a very famous parent, but “to be holy and blameless in his sight” and be adopted as a child of God and rejoicing in the glory of God for all eternity!
That’s why God is a Great Planner!
Do we really believe in Him as the Best and Sovereign Planner?
Do we try to seek His plan before we make any plan in our life, in our job, in family, in our church? Or, do we first make our own plans and then ask for His blessings?
I love to believe God is not only my Healer, Protector, Provider, Comforter, Savior and Lord, but also the Great Planner -- not just for my temporal life, but especially for my eternal destiny. He does not err. His choice is the best. He has a glorious plan for my life. And His plan cannot be thwarted.
Why not also study and invest your time in God’s Word (the Bible) and discover not only His plan for your life, but also the Greatness of the Sovereign Planner?
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thess 5:23-24, NIV).