God's Unsettling Plan

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

In the Book of Jonah, the prophet receives an assignment from God, but then fled in another direction. Evidently he found flaws with God’s plan and decided to embark on a different life. But God caught up with Jonah (quite easily), and had him cast overboard for an uncomfortable life’s lesson—God cares for people, and he should, too. Jonah ended up once again on his assignment, but we leave the book wondering if he really learned his lesson.

God’s plans do not always mesh with our own. This can be trying, particularly for those who like to lay out their plans in detail. Sometimes God does not fit on our calendar. At various times in our lives, God reminds us that He is Lord. Despite our attitudes, He does not surrender His rightful place as Lord. We may or may not submit to His rule, but we will face unsettling times to be sure. Sometimes, in order to shake us up, God has to shake up our lives. When we have settled in our own routine, look for God to “unsettle” it, in order to teach us something.

When we are honest with ourselves, we must admit our plans do not mesh with God’s. Hebrews 12 describes a side of God’s love that we may not enjoy at first:

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).

As a loving Father, God applies needed discipline to His children. When we grow cold and spiritually lukewarm, God will grab our attention in ways that feel uncomfortable. He “shakes things up” in order to secure our attention. When our life gets “thrown for a loop,” we’re ready to listen. Once God has our attention, He deals with matters at hand, and then leads us to do His will.

Can life get better? Indeed it can. We must align our wills and passions with God’s. What does God care about? God cares about people:

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).

When we get in tune with God’s interests, we begin to see people with different eyes. We see their needs, their fears, and their lost condition. It motivates us to love, pray and show God’s saving message in Christ. May God give us new eyes and a new passion for what He cares about.

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