In the light of recent global COVID-19 epidemic and it’s impact on countries, communities, families and individuals, I have been reflecting on the plans we make in the midst of so much uncertainty in this world that we live in.
No doubt at the beginning of this year, we all had plans for what we wanted to achieve. Personally, I was looking forward to a couple of conferences I had lined up for the year - that isn’t going to happen. I was also hoping to take my wife on a holiday trip sometime during the summer. That also isn’t going to happen. I had a couple of invites to weddings during the course of the year. There is still a question mark on whether those will hold or not depending on what happens before the dates and one has already been postponed till October.
As a manager at work, I had both team and individual goals set for each quarter of this year. I am thankful that I am able to work from home but a lot of changes in the way we work means some goals can no longer be achieved the way we planned.
One wonders, if we make plans and things happens to thwart those plans, what is the point in making them? As a Christian, I am learning some truths about the plans of man and God’s ultimate will. There is nothing wrong in making plans; in fact, you need to plan towards accomplishing your goal or else you will lose sight of what you want to achieve.
Jesus actually pointed out the importance of planning for a project. “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish” ( Luke 14:28-30)
What is important to understand is that there are forces at play that are beyond our finite minds to grasp and this is the reason why we need God’s guidance in all we do, starting with the plans we make. One of my favourite scriptures verses is Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans of a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” . Humans make plans, some good and some bad. We see the results of those plans everyday. We denounce the bad and we celebrate the good. Not all plans come to fruition however.
I am thankful that not all bad plans succeed. I once learnt that the police in the UK thwarted dozens of terror attack plans that the public was not even aware of within a particular period. Unfortunately, some good plans do not make it to completion either. One truth that the scripture above establishes however, is that every one of God’s purposes prevail.
When Jeremiah sent a letter to Jerusalem containing the following promises, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11), I can imagine the thoughts which would have been going through the minds of the people. “What good can come out of our being in exile?” God was not saying that His plan was to put them in exile, what He was saying was that ultimately, His purpose for His people will prevail and that purpose is always good!
No doubt, we are going through a very difficult time in the history of the world. Millions of people have been infected with COVID-19 virus and as at the time of this writing, over 240,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. In spite of all these however, we have hope in God whose plans and purpose for us is good. This is a time to trust Him and to rely on Him for direction. It is not His wish to harm us but that we surrender to His will so that He can bless us much more that we can ask or think.
In the meantime, let us continue to pray for those who are infected with COVID-19, that the Lord will touch and heal them. For those who have lost loved ones to the virus, that the Lord will comfort them as their grieve. Let us not forget to pray for those at the frontlines of this battle against the virus - Doctors, Nurses, Health workers and many others who are in essential services - that the Lord will protect and keep them safe.
By God’s grace, we will make it through to the other side of this global challenge.