When I first became a born-again believer at age 16, my whole world changed. I was up in my bedroom one night, (where I spent most nights as a teenager) listening to a gospel album. (Remember what those were?) I was on my knees, singing along with my favorite song, ‘This is my valley’. I cannot explain what happened, but I know Jesus came to me, in that little room. I could feel His presence right there, beside me. All I could do was cry, as I surrendered my life to Him, and decided I would never turn back. His presence overwhelmed me, and I was saturated in His light and love. Since that night, I have never been the same. As soon as I got up off my bedroom floor, I wanted to rush out into the world and save everyone! I wrote on my t-shirts, with permanent marker, JESUS SAVES and JESUS LOVES YOU. I wore them all over town. I left gospel tracts on how to be saved on every car on our little Main Street, and I couldn’t stop talking about Jesus! I was so bold, little old shy me, who barely ever spoke, now was trying to tell the world how much Jesus loved them. In fact, I wanted to be a disciple. I mean, a real, New Testament kind of disciple. I spent almost every day with my new found Christian friend, and told her we needed to go. “Where?” she asked. “All over”, I replied. “We don’t need transportation. The disciples didn’t drive. All they had was the sandals on their feet and a small sack with perhaps water and snacks. We can walk from town to town and tell everyone the good news, and God will supply all that we need.” My friend had questions like, “Where would we sleep? What would we eat? Would our parents let us go?” All I would say is, “God will provide. Don’t worry, He will take care of us! And I was so sure He would and that this is what we really needed to do. Oh, how innocent I was, or as some would say, how foolish! Never the less, I wanted to save everyone.
Well, as you can imagine, our parents said no, and after I got over my dreams crashing down around me, I thought I could do the next best thing. I would marry a boy who wanted to be a preacher, and we could have our own church, and we could serve others and tell them all about the love of Jesus. Needless to say, plan B didn’t work out either. Far, far from it. Well, that was almost 50 years ago! Today, I realize saving the world is not up to me. And, I’m not as bold as I was when I was a teenager. God had other plans. I endured by His grace, many hardships, from very little money, marital abuse in every way manageable, divorce, losing my home, 4 miscarriages, severe car accident where I broke my neck and back, (should never had survived, but like I said, God had other plans for me, and my 4-month-old baby I was pregnant with at the time of the accident). There is much more, but just wanted you to get the picture; we make our plans, but God has a plan of His own, as He does for each one of us. Jeremiah 29:11 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.
Looking back, I wouldn’t trade any of it because it was through all the hard times that I would draw closer to God. He was my lifeline, in more ways than one. He was my Rock, my Comforter, my best friend. I realized it was not up to me to save the world. He had already made that possible through the shed blood of His son, Jesus. All I had to do, was walk daily with Him, trusting Him for ALL THINGS, and through ALL THINGS. I released much pain through writing, especially poetry. God knew all that I needed, and He provided, and still does today. I have no regrets, some questions yes, but no regrets, because I know He is in control of my life, and He has a plan. I also know I am safest within His will for my life. I am so far from perfect, but God is so gracious with grace. On the coming day, when I look into His eyes, once again, I will fall to my knees and cry in gratitude for all He has done for me. Through the shedding of His blood on the cross, He has made me righteous. What a future is in store for those of us who believe in Him, and surrender to Him our hearts and our lives.
Yes, dear friends, go ahead and make your plans, that is all well and good, and they may go exactly as you have planned, BUT, if they don’t, know that everything will be just fine either way, because never forget God loves you, and His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts, than our thoughts. Isaiah 55:9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. His plan is always perfect. Trust Him. Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.