Do you ever make plans for your future? Sometimes, Pete and I will take time to really plan out our financial and personal paths in life. While this is a great way to really communicate our desires with each other, it does not strengthen our relationship with Christ. Why, you ask? Well, when we make plans according to our own will, we are telling God that we do not trust Him. We are subtly saying to God, “Our own plans are more important than whatever you have in store for us.” While we were just trying to ensure our kids’ college plans, our retirement and our livelihood, we didn’t consider that God might have other plans in mind. So maybe we needed to include in our discussion the idea that God is probably laughing at all of our plans, and He is in control no matter what we decide today.
It doesn’t hurt to plan things out and be prepared. After all during Advent don’t we hear, “Prepare the Way of the Lord.” That just might be the key to understanding planning. When we prepare the Way of the Lord, we actually prepare for Him, not for us. We make room for Christ so that there is a place for Him to pass through our hearts. Move out of the way all your “stuff” and let Christ through! Financial planning isn’t a bad thing, but we need to really think through who God is calling us to be. How are we helping our kids get closer to Christ while we are planning out their college education? How are we preparing for retirement with Christ at the center of it? How are we preparing to stay afloat financially, but still trusting that God will give us all we need? It is hard to prepare the Way of the Lord. It is easy to plan for the future without Him.
Some people don’t plan at all. They figure it will all work out and for some of them it does. They trust that God will find a way financially to send their kids to college. They trust that God will help them figure out retirement when they get there. They live in the present, not the future, nor the past; mostly, because financially they cannot even think about the future without anxiety and worry. While some people may think this is a poor choice, it actually does entail very deep trust that things will just work out. You see my planning doesn’t involve trust at all; in fact it involves a tight grip on my money. Almost like I am saying, “This is my money and I will save it and do with it what I please.” Now I am not saying this to make all the planners out there angry. I am just saying that when we plan, we must include God. We must let God know that we realize He can take that money and that planning at any minute and throw it out the window. We must allow trust into our hearts.
Prepare the Way of the Lord is not just for Advent. Our lives must revolve around this lesson. We must constantly make room for the Lord in our life. Placing trust in the Lord allows us to see the beauty and joy that He so wants us to embrace.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
So during this Advent season, think about how you can prepare the Way of the Lord. How can you make a path for the Lord to touch your heart even deeper? How can you show your trust in God? How can you make your family even closer to Christ?