I recently read an article entitled “We Plan: God Laughs.” Supposedly, these words were based on Psalm 2 where we read: “He who is enthroned in the heavens laughs at the plan-making nations.” There are many Scriptural instances of humans having to let go of what they had planned in order to see and carry out God’s way. Joseph Campbell writes: “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” In reviewing our past lives we will have to agree that it’s often the adventures that were unexpected and unplanned that proved to be most transformative for us. “The God of Surprises,” says Desmond Tutu, ‘’will play his most extraordinary and incredible card indealing with us.”
So why and how to make good plans, we ask. The idea of making God laugh with devising our own plans and schemes is definitely a possibility. However, it may prove to be better to work in cooperation with God’s will in doing the planning in our lives. The gospel is helpful as it cites Jesus’ instruction: “Carry no purse or bag…greet one another on the road…bless those who welcome you and let go of those who do not…shed the dust that clings to your feet…move on!” Underneath these words we hear Jesus inviting us to “travel light.“ Be adaptable. Be willing to be surprised and open to God’s unexpected adventures. Of course we must make plans, but we must base them on our love of God and love of our brothers and sisters which is ultimately on God’s will. Make plans, but be willing to be surprised, open to the unexpected adventures of a God who is All-knowing. Make plans, but hold them lightly. Even learn to laugh with God for they will ultimately make way for God’s better plan in the end.
In her book, Sherre Hirsch reminds us that our plans are limited to the here and now, to what we think will be for our good at the time. She advocates a far better version of planning and that is to have plans which reflect who we are now, but also who we want to be in the future — all in sync with God. She says admits that at every stage of life we have to plan, setting out where and when we want to go, but also imagining what we will be like when we have “arrived.” Planning, then, is necessary, but it is equally necessary to realize that it is the Lord who determines our steps along the way. It is all about trust – trust that God has it all figured out, trust in the One who places before us the paths we must take on the way to our final destination. How often have we made a plan only to have God in his great wisdom guide us to his “way” instead? We’ve got to wonder how often has God looked at our plan and, shaking his head and letting out a long sigh, probably said, “There he or she goes again.” Ultimately it seems we have three basic choices to make. First, we can plan how we want things to work out and expect God to bless these plans and absolutely make them happen for us. Second, we can ignore God altogether in our planning and just go ahead on our own. Third, we can go to God first, praying to God for guidance in making our decision and then continuing to pray for direction as we strive to carry out the steps required to best fulfill that plan. It’s definitely in our best interest to choose Door #3!!