The Heart of Man Plans His Way…
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
For the better part of a year, I’ve worked diligently with the elders and transition team to craft and execute a plan for the future of our church. Throughout that time, not a few people have reminded me of Pr. 16:9. Planning is a good thing (21:5; etc.), but we must always hold our plans loosely. It is the Lord who establishes or, in the King’s English, directs our steps.
Sure enough, the Lord has directed our steps in an entirely different direction than our plans had anticipated. Here we are more than a month into lockdown, with yet another month to go. Although the tunnel is a bit long and its end more uncertain than we’d like, the light is still there. And because there will be an end to this phase of social distancing, we find ourselves planning once again for what the future will look like after the shelter-in-place order is lifted. I’ll have a lot more to say about our church’s plans in due course.
Leaving aside our church’s business, I want to remind you that the Lord is, indeed, directing all our steps in this uncertain and tumultuous season. Even as we grieve all the ways in which our plans have been thwarted, we can find confidence in knowing that the Lord will be gracious to guide us as we think prayerfully about the road that lies ahead.
There isn’t a single one of us whose plans haven’t been upended by this virus. Spring weddings, graduation ceremonies, elective surgeries—these are just a few of the “lighter” items that have had to be put on hold. Never mind the great pressure the lockdown has placed on all our financial plans—from the newly-unemployed father of 3 to our older friends who rely on hard-hit retirement accounts (and everyone in between).
We may not like where we are right now, but the God who has directed us here has not done so lightly. Due respect to the crown, but the original language of Pr. 16:9 is actually much stronger than the word “direct” would suggest. Rather, the Lord establishes our steps. He prepares and makes them firm—even when they lead us down paths we wish we didn’t have to take.
Yes, this is a season of disruption and confusion. But the Lord is with us. He is both guiding and strengthening our steps—not by the acuity of our vision but the steadfastness of our faith in Christ. Indeed, we walk by faith and not by sight. I’m praying for you all this week. May the Lord guide you as you think and plan about what life will look like after the lockdown, and may He establishes your steps in the days to come.
Your Brother in Christ,