These were the words of the Most High God, spoken through the Prophet Jeremiah, to His children whom He had caused to be carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. They had transgressed His laws and needed to be chastened to bring them back to His ways of righteousness.
God is a great “Planner”. His thoughts and ways are simply stunning; they’re unimaginable and incomprehensible. He said: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
How many times our plans and expectations don’t conform to those of the LORD! We sit, make great plans and expect to have things go just as we planned. More often we even fail to consider if those plans of ours are well aligned to the Creators purpose and plans for our lives. God has an ultimate purpose and plan for every soul on earth, and His counsel stands for ever (Psalms 33:11); and every one whose plans aren’t aligned to His, ends up being frustrated and less fruitful. That soul lives below his or her potential. Ignorance of His counsel makes us weary ourselves with expectations that are out of line with His Supreme will.
When God called Abraham, then Abram, He promised to bless him through a seed he was going to bear. He believed God and trusted Him. However, in the process of time, in moments of weakness in faith, he heeded the suggestion of his wife to have children through their maid-servant, Hagar. “And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram harkened to the voice of Sarai.” (Genesis 16:2).
True to their expectation, Hagar, their Egyptian maid, conceived and had a child; but not without contempt. She had been with her master and brought forth a child, and so she despised Sarai, her mistress. Hmmm! How regretful Sarai would be! It was her idea, her plan, but had slammed back unto her face. God wasn’t consulted when that major decision was made and that brought her pain and regret. Later on, God fulfilled His promise. He gave her and Abraham the promised child, Isaac, when His appointed time was due. His plans are time bound, even though He is timeless.
Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, made a great plan to seek refuge in Moab when there was famine on their land, with the mind of coming back with their sons after the passing away of the famine. They went to Moab, which was outside of God’s will for them, and lost virtually everything. Her husband and her two sons died whilst in Moab, fleeing from a famine in their homeland (Ruth 1:1-5). Wow! What a misplaced expectation!
Several centuries earlier, when faced with a similar situation of a great famine, even beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham, Isaac sought to move away to Egypt as was the reasonable thing at the time. But “the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt.” (Genesis 26:2). This was contrary to Isaac’s expectation. But he heeded God’s counsel, stayed and never left. “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great.” (Genesis 26:12-13). It is not easy to expand exceedingly in a time of serious economic hardship. But, Isaac became very prosperous in such a time. How wondrous are the plans of God! He always has something better, far beyond our numerous misplaced expectations.
Naomi came back empty handed. She had lost her husband and sons to death. However, returning from Moab, one of her daughters-in-law called Ruth followed her to Bethlehem. Ruth was a faithful and loyal daughter-in-law. This wonderful woman left her accursed city and her people to seek God and to take care of her mother-in-law, since she was now left alone after her great loss. Ruth came to Bethlehem to serve, and she did it whole-heartedly, not requiring any benefit; she was excellent with her service to her mother-in-law. But far above her expectation, God gave her a richly blessed and honourable man, Boaz, out of her unsolicited service to Naomi. Ruth was married to Boaz and became the Great Grandmother of King David and ancestor of Jesus Christ. How awesome and perfect His plans are, when we align ours to His! Truly He’s got an expected end for His children who seek His purpose.
Zacharias and Elizabeth sought for a child but God had a Great Prophet and forerunner of Jesus in mind. Therefore, they had to wait till the time for the arrival of Jesus Christ was due, before they could conceive and bear John the Baptist. They had to be barren for many years because their expectation was in conflict with His timing.
Most of the time, there exist this conflict between God’s expectations and ours. We work so hard to ensure that our desires, expectations and aspirations are actualized, even at the expense of carrying out the very counsel of God. It’s time to seek proper alignment between these two. King David advised: “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5). “For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.” (Proverb 23:18).
We must learn to align our plans and expectations to those of our Heavenly Father if we desire to realize our full potential and to have peace in our lives. Planning is very important but it must be committed to the LORD. Our plans must be handed to Him to shape them according to His divinely ordained purpose and plans for our lives; then will we find fulfilment and find the peace and happiness we heartily desire.
Get aligned with God’s, He’s always got something better!