Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

At the heart of who I am, I am knit together like an engineer. That's why I hold two engineering degrees, a license, and nearly ten years of experience within the field of engineering. That analytical side of who I am can sometimes make it difficult to roll with the curveballs that life inevitably tosses at me. I develop a plan and then hold to that plan as unswervingly as I possibly can. Until, of course, that plan is no longer feasible or workable.

I had one of those days today when I got one of those curveballs at the beginning of the day and struggled to gain back my stride from that point forward. My carefully concocted and thought out plans had been developing for the last few months only to be dashed in the matter of a few minutes.

As I tried to dig my way out of the shattered plans, I turned to my constant comfort in the book of Psalms. As a worship leader, David is near and dear to my heart. When I find myself struggling with what portion of God's word that I should be reading, my natural fall-back is the book of Psalms. There is wisdom and comfort and constant reminders of the character and nature of the God whom I serve.

I turned to Psalm 40, made famous by U2 in the 80's. The first four verses read:

"I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods."

What an incredible reminder to me (and all of us) about what God has done for us. He has rescued us, saved us, put us in a safe place, and given us a new song to sing. While it's easy to focus on all the things that might not have worked out the way that I had planned, my focus needs to be on how God has not left my side nor has He abandoned me. He has just chosen to lead me down a different path.

Elsewhere in the Psalms, we read, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." God gives us enough light to see the few steps on the path ahead of us, but not so much that we no longer need to depend on Him for guidance, strength, wisdom, and direction. Next time that you feel like your best laid plans have been dashed against the rocks of life, just remember that your ways are not God's ways. His ways are higher and greater than any ways that we could ever imagine and we need to place our trust firmly in His character and His history of faithfulness to His people.



  1. Thank you for these words of help and much-needed reminders. The Psalms are a lifeline!

    As a former (recovering?) software engineer, I also go the planning route and I am haunted by a friend's statement that "My interruptions may be God's opportunities." It takes a lot for me to reframe my view toward that...

    Do you read the Psalms consistently? If so, how do you 'approach' them? Do you pick one randomly or do you walk through them in an ordered manner?

  2. The Psalms are my "Old Standby" for spiritual renewal and refreshment. My mom actually showed me a neat way to go through them in a month. If you start with the 1st of the month and read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, 121, then on the 2nd read Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92, 122, etc. It works out pretty good doing it that way.

    Sometimes, though, it makes more sense to heed the word of the psalmist's word "selah" and pause. That's always my tendency, to read for reading's sake rather than for transformation.