Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 55:8’

Don’t calculate without God (1)

I have always been a whiz with numbers.  In school I could add, subtract, multiple, and divide with the best.  Word problems and algebraic equations were my soul mates.  

Arithmetic was home base.  I consistently made A’s in math until I hit trigonometry and calculus.  My guaranteed A’s turned into hard won B’s.  After completing my second semester calculus class at Chapel Hill, I had enough.

Life is like calculus, it’s hard to figure out.  I was never able to look at a calculus problem and know the correct answer immediately.  Life is the same.  Just when I think I have life figured out, reality steps up to the plate and throws me a sinking curve ball.

When I became a Christian and began to include God in the equation, life did not necessarily become easier, but the answer became clearer.  With God in the mix, I know how the story ends, thus I know where I am going and can more easily find my way.

Because God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts (2) my greatest error in life is to make plans, do my life calculus, without considering God.  

I am a list maker.  My favorite is a list of pros and cons.  I will consider every obstacle and possibility while completing this list.  Once my list is complete, I weigh my options and make a decision.  Once a decision is made, I move forward.

Periodically I will show my list to a group of leaders in the church or to the men in my Covenant Group, to help them understand that I made a wise and careful decision.

One day, a friend who was reviewing my list asked me, “Where’s God?”  

I stumbled and stammered, I was struck dumb, silenced with nothing to say.  God was not considered.  I had not calculated for God.  I had planned for opposition, deficiencies, sin, evil, rainy days, surprises, and a host of other potential problems the world might throw down in my path.  But I had not planned on God.

My friend said,”Without God, your plans will fail.”

I hate it when my friends are right and I am wrong. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (3)

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Isaiah 55:8.
  3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jeremiah 29:11.

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I am still confident of this: 

I will see the goodness of the Lord 

in the land of the living.

Psalm 27:13

Each morning I compose a schedule for the day, putting things in order in their proper time and place.  Each evening I go to bed exasperated that my day did not go as planned.

I am an agenda-maker. I know it’s a control issue.

I am willing to give my whole life to God, except for my schedule.  I continually ask God to tell me what he has planned for my day before I get out of the shower.  I will make sure His plans get on my schedule.

God wants my schedule.  I refuse to give it to Him because I want to insure that all gets done decently and in order.  It keeps God’s surprises from tripping me up and driving me nuts because His ways are not my ways (see Isaiah 55:8)

Sarah Young reminds me:

“You worship a living Deity, not some idolatrous, man-made image. Your relationship with Him is meant to be vibrant and challenging, as He invades more and more areas of your life.  It is easy to make an idol of routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life.” (1)

Yes, I am guilty.  I want to set and establish the boundaries of my life.

Please do not misunderstand me, I will give God free reign in my life, as long as He stays in my boundaries.

God knows better.  In fact, many of my greatest joys have come into my life because God laughed at the arrogance of my desire to control Him.

If I had my way, I would not have met my wife, discovered the joy of hospice ministry, saved a man’s life, nor been blessed by serving at the Rockford Rescue Mission.

All of these gifts came after I fervently told God, “I do not plan to go there!”

Every morning God must laugh when He sees my schedule for Him for the day.

Richard Blackaby writes:

God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives. (2)

I prefer making and keeping my own plans.  God finds them to be stale, self-centered, and, if left alone, to be the death of me.  He wants me to enjoy the fresh, God-centered, life he has planned for me.

There once was an old woman who had planned her life around 7 husbands.  One day when once-again thirsty, she went to draw from the stagnant well of her schemes, when Jesus came to her.

Jesus made her a better offer:

Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.  (John 4:13-14)

When will I ever learn the water in His well will always be better than the water in mine.

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  1. Young, Sarah (2004-10-12). Jesus Calling (p. 51). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
  2. Blackaby, Richard (2006-12-01). Experiencing God Day By Day (p. 49). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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