I was flicking through some music the other day and came across one of older albums. It’s a live version of Garth Brooks on tour, and the one song that always jumps out at me is the one I’ve linked below, and it’s the title for this blog.
Throughout our life, we’ve often faced trials of many kinds, and this frequently leads to prayer. But, sometimes, our prayers are more like we’ve rewritten that well known scripture above!
It’s as if we’ve substituted that well known verse for our own, amended version, that goes something like this - ‘For I know the plans God should have for me…plans for my good, not my harm’.
And in our bid to seemingly ‘help God out’ we miss the fact that it is God that knows the plans for us and not us.
When Elijah came near to God, which you can read in 1 Kings 19, there was absolutely no mistaking God’s presence - because of what preceded God actually coming, in physical form, past Elijah: a strong wind tore apart the mountains; an earthquake shook the earth; a fire happened (which you can guarantee was not a little flame!) – all of these came before God’s presence. And even then, it was God’s voice, as a whisper, that Elijah heard.
And God’s whisper was no less easy to mistake, than those 3 things that came before Him.
When I was 16, I heard God’s actual voice. It was unmistakable, and yet I have never heard it before or since.
It led to me sobbing uncontrollably and experiencing great joy, in constant waves. There were 3, short, sentences that have changed my life, that God spoke audibly into my ears!
And yet it always surprises me when people ask what God said to me, and not what He sounded like. Because His words were beyond comforting, and yet it was the sound of His actual voice that still comforts me to this day, some 30 years later.
There was no mistaking His voice!
Elijah didn’t mistake God’s voice either!
And yet when we find ourselves in difficulty, how quickly do we adapt that Jeremiah 29:11 piece of scripture, and try and help God out by praying for what we want, rather than stopping and seeking His will for our lives?
If we only experienced what we wanted or thought good for us, we’d miss some of the hardest moments in our lives. But those moments, when we are the last of ourselves, are the moments when I have ALWAYS experienced the most of Who, and What, God is, and even though it is barely scraping the surface of the Who He is.
Corrie Ten Boom – what a woman! But when you read the book, the woman of God we came to know, is not really there in the book. It is as a result of her horrific experiences at the hands of the Nazis that God makes Corrie Ten Boom more like the woman of God He needs her to be, for His kingdom.
And that ‘for His kingdom’ part is the key for me.
So while we should pray in all situations and circumstances, let’s also seek to stop our hasty, and often knee jerk responses in prayer, and seek to discern what God’s will is for us.
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.
It is God who knows the plans He has for us, and they will always surprise us.
So let’s take time to stop, and pause, and check in with God when difficulties come. Because those difficulties may well be ones God doesn’t wish for us to avoid or be protected from. They could be life changing both for us, and others God puts in our way.
It may well be that He wants us to turn those plans upside down, so we can make something God-great, rather than just me-great!
Garth Brooks – One of God’s greatest Gifts is Unanswered Prayers
Written by Andy B