We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NLT
My first half reaction was, duh, I know, I said flexibility and spontaneity were key. But this verse is so much more than that. Right now, while I’m in such a goal setting mode and we are both trying to figure out our path for the future, this verse is so key. There is hope and joy in knowing that when our plans are not fulfilled, the Lord is directing our steps in His way.
But that makes it sound like I truly understand the depth of this verse, but I really don’t quite get it.
I went on to read all of Proverbs 16, not because I wanted to dive in more deeply, but because I hit the wrong button on the Bible app I was using.
There was so much about planning and paths, so I decided to copy and compile all of them. Maybe something will sink in. Maybe I’ll have a revelation. Maybe one of you will have a revelation and explain them to me.
“Commit your actions to the Lord and your plans will succeed.”
This verse has always been important and yet I don’t quite get it. I love to repeat it, but don’t really know what it means to “commit my actions”. If I commit running to the Lord, my plans to run a half-marathon will succeed? No. Is it just my “religious actions” like helping refugees that can be committed to the Lord? No. I know what it means to commit time, energy, money, but committing actions and then it’s relevance to plans escapes me. If I commit all I do, every move I make to the Lord, all my plans will succeed. I can wrap my mind around that. But I’m distracted so much of the time and only on occasion even mentally aware enough to commit my actions to the Lord, is there a proportional amount that my plans will succeed? Can you mindlessly commit your actions or commit them once and then act mindlessly?
If I were Beth Moore, I would do a word study, but I am not, so I’m kinda stuck with a vague notion of what this means. I can commit my time, my energy, my mind, but how does one commit ones actions?
“Those who trust the Lord will be joyful.” Now this one I get. If there were a theme verse for my lessons of the last few years, it would be this verse. Though I’m not sure I even knew this verse was in there. I see the truth of this more and more and more. When I trust the Lord I am joyful, when I worry about things, I am not. God is in control and whatever his plan, I know God provides for us. I don’t know how that will look in the future, but I know it is true.
“We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.” This again. We can plan. It’s fine to set goals and to think about possibilities, but never forget who has the RIGHT answer. And there is a RIGHT answer.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” The path that seems right, might not be right. God knows the right path and it’s very important that he is directing our steps. It’s a matter of life and death. Eternal life and death.
“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” Or translated more literally, in the NASB “The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the Lord.”
We can rest because God is in control. Stumbling on these verses when I was arrogantly talking and thinking about planning was not an accident. I used to become stressed to the point of immobilization or sometimes over-mobilization, running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to figure out what book God wanted me to read, restaurant he wanted me to go to, and movie he wanted me to rent. THAT is not what THIS is about, at least He has taught me that much in all these years.
This is about trust. This is about remembering He is in control of everything even in the most seemingly random actions. We can plan, but still He will lead. We can plan, but he has it figured out. We don’t know where the path leads, so we trust the one who made the path.
I still can’t quite wrap my head around it. I may pull these back out for some five minute meditations in the next few weeks. I need to just be still and let these run through my mind and let Him speak to me, teach me, and lead me.
I won’t stop making plans, but I’ll remember my frailty, His wisdom, and I’ll keep anticipating the place He is leading.