Posted by: pmarkrobb | January 11, 2016

to every maker of plans

Our lives follow a rhythm of seasons.  The created world navigates a perpetual cycle of four.  Our calendar and everyday lives possess many more.  Recently, we all experienced the calendar seasons of gratitude and generosity.  The two major holiday seasons, which punctuate the calendar year, invite us to experience their goodness, but the seasonal circumstances of our lives do not always fit with those feelings.  I pray they have for you, but if they have not, I pray for comfort and healing.  May the hope and promise of a new “day” (the season we are beginning now) take root in your heart and life.

If I had to name this current season, I would call it “the season of resolve.”  This is the season where more than a page is turned on the calendar.  Where even people whose tendency is to live in the moment or to feel captive to their current circumstances see the potential and possibility of a fresh new page.  This is the season for dreamers, planners, and goal setters.  It is into the dawn of this season that I’d like to speak two simple things … today a simple truth and next Thursday a simple suggestion.

This year, I bought a paper calendar.  I’ve been restless in the previous few, wrestling with my genuine love of writing and journaling, and my enjoyment of technology.  Google has been good to me.  I love the ease with which I can create an appointment in my Google Calendar.  I love the automatic reminders.  I love the options for visibility beyond my own personal notice.  It’s efficient and fun, but it hasn’t fulfilled me.  Each time I’ve sat with my wife to go over calendars, I’ve felt inadequate.  She probably sets an unrealistically high bar with her impeccable handwriting and crazy neatness, but even my most brisk keystrokes lagged measurably behind the elegant strokes of her Sharpie pen.  There was unmistakable personality and depth in her date book, mine fit into my pocket.  Her marks were indelible, mine disappeared into the cloud.

Irrespective of the disquiet, I loved our “planning” sessions.  I loved sitting down with calendars and charting out the days, weeks and months that lay ahead.  It made things fit.  It made them make sense.  I felt prepared and some semblance of organized as we measured our future steps.  I wonder if you’ve experienced that very same sense of satisfaction.

It is good to plan.  There is great benefit in looking and plotting your way forward.  The human wisdom, which says you are far more likely to arrive at a goal if you plan your path towards it, seems to prove true.  But I also believe there is a greater biblical truth that is essential to every maker of plans.

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Proverbs 19:9 (ESV)

God knows us.  He created each and every physical and emotional part of me (and you) and knit them together as I was being formed in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13).  He knows the desires and function of our hearts.  He knows that we are inclined to do many things, one of which is to plan.  He has chosen not to override this nature.  He has chosen to allow us to choose.  And in choosing, we must remember this grace.  We must acknowledge that each breath and step is gifted by Him.  Our plan(s) may appear to result in us arriving at a place or a goal in a month’s or six month’s time, but let us never forget that it was God’s grace, power, provision and protection that brought us there.

God does not tell us to stop planning.  He simply reminds us through the Psalmist the proper context in which to plan.  May we always remember the frailty of this life and the purposes of the kingdom when we set our sights forward.  May we seek His heart in the goals we set.  May we live freely along the paths we chart, ever close to Him, always listening and sensitive to His leading.  May we acknowledge Him first in the celebration of every occasion of arriving at a place or achieving a goal.

How good is God that He does not dismiss the heart of man.  How great was His sacrifice and love for us in authoring the plan of redemption.  Welcome 2016 and this season of resolve.



  1. Excellent post! I very much needed to read this on a Monday morning! Especially this particular Monday morning, when I have an important teleconference that will go a long way to plotting my future course. I have my plans, and I have my heart’s desire of how I would like this teleconference and the future to go. But I will let the Lord establish the steps.

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