Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Plans or His Plans?

There are times when we think we are moving no where, but that no where is somewhere to God. Think of Esther. Here is a woman of great beauty. She had plans of her own, but God's plans prevailed. Turns out, His plans saved thousands of Jews. Pretty cool when you think about how His plans always works out to bring glory to our Father.

Sometimes I think I get in the way of His plans for my life as I am constantly trying to do it my way. I can hear Him now. "Daughter, if you would just listen to Me, all things will work out just fine." I tend to push (no shove) Him out of the way when I don't think things are going well. God has to giggle at us sometimes as we think our way is best. I imagine Him saying, "Really? That's your move?"

Every choice we make leads to the next. If we could just follow the guidance of our Savior, each step would be in tune with His purpose for our lives. One wrong decision on our part can change the lives of many. Think about that and let it settle in for a bit. Each choice we make will effect those around us. Sometimes for generations to come. This is why it is so important for us to make wise decisions. Decisions that we have prayed over and sought out the guidance of God before we take a step in either direction. Praise the Lord for U-turns. I get off track and He is right there to lead me back on track. But if I would have listened to Him in the first place and followed His leading, there would be no need for a U-turn.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21

"For surely, O Lord, You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favor as with a shield."
Psalm 5:12

Did you know in the book of Esther God is never mentioned? It's true. Even though God is never mentioned we can see Him there loud and clear. Esther was alone after the death of her parents. She went to live with her cousin, Mordecai. He loved her as his own child. She looked to him for guidance and for safety. Esther was that girl who walks into a room and everyone takes notice. She was breathtaking to all. I see her as uncertain. She had to be thinking, "Okay, what's next? What trial will I have to face next?" Ever feel that way? I do. It's like I am just waiting for the bomb to drop. When we do that, we lose focus and we start expecting the worse, when God has the best in store for us. Even when we have to face those trials we'd rather pass up.

She was forced to go to another country. Can you imagine? You lose your parents and now you lose your home too. She travels to a new land where she really stood out. The King has his eyes set on her, but she wants nothing to do with him. She could have been very bitter, but she was just the opposite. She fasts and listens for the guidance she needs to move forward. She was willing to sacrifice herself for the good of those around her. In her wise choices she saved thousands of Jewish people. She married the king and took the place of Queen Vashti.

See, Mordecai warned Esther of plans to have the Jewish people killed. Esther had to choose what to do with this information. You couldn't just go up to the king and start chatting. "Hey, how ya doing today? By the way, the Jewish people are about to be wiped off the face of the earth. Just thought you should know." If you went before the king without permission, you were as good as dead. But Esther, in all her courage, faced the king and shared of the plans of Haman. Well, the king listened and Haman didn't have the opportunity to make anymore plans. Yep, sure enough, he was killed right there on the spot. Esther, the woman of beauty, saved her people.

I am sure Esther could look back at her life and ask, "Why God? Why did my life carry such circumstance?" After all, she didn't end up where she thought she would be. It was every girl's dream to be queen, but not Esther. She was beautiful, well loved, obedient, courageous and wise. She faced danger, was a foreigner, orphan and married a king in which she didn't love, all for the people she loved. Can you see God there? This is exactly what our Savior did for us. Esther didn't have to follow God's plans for her life. She could have easily went the other way. But she didn't. She made her mark in history, not just for being beautiful, but for obeying and serving those around her. Even though she didn't think her life would bring about blessings, God had more in store for her than she could ever imagine. He too has a wonderful life filled with joy planned for you and me.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me."
Jeremiah 29:11-13

A few weeks ago my son and I were chatting about life and our choices. I had shared with  my son that I had a full ride to SLU and I turned it down. I walked away from something that could have very well had me on a totally different path. My son says, "But Mom, if you would have done that than you may never have met Dad". I do realize I allowed blessings to pass by, but even so, God knew where I would be in my decision. Even in our choices that are made without wisdom, God can still bring blessing upon blessing. He has a way of turning ash into beauty. The point is, when we totally surrender to Him and seek Him first, His plans are made perfect in our lives. Those moments we think are small are huge to God and His plan for our lives.

I am sure I missed out on great blessings. But, as my son spoke of his father. It wasn't until I met him that I came to know the Lord. I think my path was right where God wanted me to be. As I look back at all that has touched my life I can clearly see how God has moved on my behalf. Even in my wrong choices, He has brought great blessings. Just think if I followed His leadership daily, moment by moment, the great joys that I could experience.

Bloom where you are planted. Esther blossomed in a foreign land and brought great glory to God through a life she didn't expect and didn't foresee. God has your life in the palm of His hand and there is no greater place to be than in His presence. It is there we see His mighty power at work and His gentle grace applied in all the right places.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."
Proverbs 3:5-6
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