I love our Tuesday morning bible study group. We always have a wonderful time in God’s word, which always leads to some very interesting discussion, which usually leads to some even more interesting questions. By the time we get to some of our questions, it would be hard to see how we got there from the lesson/verses we began with if you arrived late…..you have to be there to experience some of the rabbit chasing we do. However, I never leave without knowing that the Holy Spirit has directed even those little bunnies.
Part of our discussion this week was about the plan God has for our lives and how we often deviate from that path by taking our own way. It was interesting that we all had a similar mindset that included the following:
#1. God has/had a perfect plan for us (i.e., exactly who we should be, what we should do, where we should go, etc. – a very detailed and exact plan)
#2. We have all, more than a few times, deviated from this perfect plan and taken our own way; some only slightly off path, others WAY off.
#3. Once seriously off the original perfect plan, we could somehow never get back on that perfect plan (we blew it).
#4. Plan A scratched, we were now moving forward with God on His Plan B, or C, or Z, based on our number of deviations from Plan A. (Some of us wondered if the plans went further than Z….perhaps into Plans AA, BB, or even Plans 1, 2, 3…)
For many years of my life as a perfectionist, I grieved over the loss of Plan A, whatever it had been. If only I could have done life right! Oh, what joy and treasures I have surely forfeited with my immature and selfish choices. Don’t misunderstand, I completely believe and know from painful personal experiences that choices have consequences, some of which are irreversible. Many alter our lives in ways that change us and our circumstances forever. But we must be careful that we are looking at our lives through His eyes and basing what we believe about ourselves, our mistakes, and our futures on His word.
I realized not too awfully long ago, that I was living like I was on God’s B team. In my mind, the A team was made up of the players that were the best because they were still on His perfect Plan A (i.e., they hadn’t missed God’s plan for them). They were skilled and experienced, having a superior life track record that must make God so proud. Oh, I was sure they’d missed a few steps, committed a few sins here and there, but not the life-altering ones. Not like me.
I believed that forgiveness was mine for the sins I had intensely regretted and profusely confessed. I believed that He met me where I was in my mess and began working in my life to get me back on track with the next plan. It would be a good plan and I would be happy with it. But it would never be as good as Plan A had been. It would put me on the B team. Still a player, but no longer one of the best.
Then God took me through a simple conversation with Him.
“If you do the wrong thing, is it sin?”
“Yes, of course, Lord.”
“If you know the right thing to do but you don’t do it, is it sin?”
“Yes again, Lord.”
“So, if I had a plan for you that you didn’t follow, you sinned, right?”
Head beginning to droop, I replied “Yes.”
“Have you confessed this sin to Me?”
“A multitude of times, God.”
“Did I forgive you?”
“Graciously, thankfully, lovingly – YES!”
“Well, if you sinned and confessed it, what did I say I would do with your sin?”
“You would be faithful and just to forgive me and cleanse me; you would cast my sin as far as from the east is from the west and remember it no more; you will cast ALL my sin into the depths of the sea*!”
“So how would I see you as off My plans for you if your deviation has been forgiven and wiped from My mind? The moment I forgave you and you once again surrendered to My will for you, you were back on My plan. You may have a different set of circumstances based on your choices, but I am with you even as it seems you have complicated things in this earthly realm. But don’t forget – My mercies are new every morning** and nothing is too difficult for Me***.”
“I only have a Plan A. It’s called Grace.”
*1 John 1:9, Psalm 103:12, Micah 7:19