Tuesday, September 14, 2010


A friend of mine shared something interesting with me the other day. It's a quote from author Ray Anderson which, I imagine, could be somewhat controversial. He said, “The will of God is the outcome of a good plan.” Interesting, don't you think?

A warning to those of you in the "We can't plan, only God can" camp--you aren't going to like this post much. I tend to agree with what Anderson is saying. I do believe we are to plan. I also believe we are to submit those plans to God...or actually plan with Him, but we ARE to plan.

The fact is, if we don't plan adequately, we will lose our peace among other things. Years ago, Phil, a friend of mine (not his real name) who was a part of a small group or Bible study I helped to lead, received notice that his home was being foreclosed upon. At the time, his life was an absolute mess. His wife had left him, he was out of work and not really interested in finding a job and his health was in serious jeopardy. He was also battling depression which was understandable.

27 days before he was to be out of his house, myself and two others (one of them was our pastor) went to him to see how we could help and to offer some encouragement. I asked, “Phil, what is the plan to get your stuff out of your house?”

He said, “Now that’s the difference between you and me. You’re a planner and I’m not. I’m feeling good about things right now so I’m just going to do my best and God will work it out.”

My pastor responded, “Phil, failing to plan is planning to fail.”

Phil did not want to hear that at all so he dismissed it. So, we left without a plan to help him. Three days before he was to be out of his house, Phil called me and I could sense the utter panic in his voice as he said, “Jim, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I need to be out of here in three days and I haven’t done anything!”

If there was such a thing as a peace scale which measured the amount peace in a person on a scale of one to ten, Phil would have been at negative 50. He had no peace. Zero. Zip. Nada. He was running on fumes.

Phil did end up making it through those times but the fact remained, he had no peace at that time. A big reason for that was because he had no plan.

I share this story with you, not to bash my friend, but rather to help you (and me). I have heard it said that a smart person learns from his own mistakes while a wise person learns from the mistakes of others. I am hopeful that this illustration can be something to help you to avoid the same sort of mistake in your life.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3


Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

This: “The will of God is the outcome of a good plan.”
Very thought provoking, this.

Thank you... God truly used this to stir me and compel...
Thank you so much...

All's grace,
Ann Voskamp
High Calling Contributing Editor

Jim Lange said...

Thank you Ann. I'm so glad this had an impact on you! Blessings to you!

Anonymous said...

I'm a planner...and those that don't plan irratate me. To me, it's so easy just to think ahead, but so many others fly by the seat of their pants. And they are happy to do it that way. Nice post

Rod Brant said...

Plan like you are in control.
Live like God is.

Jim Lange said...

redletter, thanks for your comments and the encouragement! I agree with you!

Jim Lange said...

Rod, I love that! Thanks!