I went to college to be a planner. I spent my life planning buildings, and planning a business. Now we spend a lot of days planning travel. I think a lot about plans. In fact this is PLANS ll because I previously wrote about Plans in an earlier blog.
The picture is me as a high school senior with plans in hand, planning to become an architect. Eight years later, after lots of study and hard work, I did. It’s been a career I’ve loved and felt called to for well over 30 years. My plans didn’t always work out exactly as I planned, but some of the best lessons came when they didn’t.
I recently read about a man named Isaac Ware. He was a street urchin and chimney sweep in 18th century England. Chimney sweeps usually started at the age of 5 and were totally incapacitated by age 11 or 12. To keep them from slacking off, they often lit a fire of straw in the fireplace. This was in an age when 1/3 of all children died in their first year, and only 50% made it to their 7th birthday.
One day Ware was sketching with a piece of charcoal and was noticed by a passing nobleman. Initially Ware was terrified that he would be flogged for not working, but the nobleman, recognizing his talent, took him in. He arranged for his education, and he went on to be a very well-known and respected architect with great influence on English architecture of the period.
Ware had no hope, no dream, and no reason to believe he would ever escape his lowly lot in life. He had no plan beyond survival.
I recently attended my wife’s aunt’s funeral where the scripture was Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Aunt Eleanor and her husband’s plans to have children didn’t work out, at least not the way they expected. It turns out though, that they adopted and raised three amazing children. Based on the deep loving tributes Jim, Jayne, and Tim made to their parents, Eleanor and Willie were incredible parents. It wasn’t exactly as they planned, but clearly this was a deeply loving, and fulfilled family life beyond what they likely imagined.
It got me thinking about plans again. In my case I had a plan. Things did not always go smoothly and there were plenty of opportunities for my plans to be ruined; That D in college physics for example, or if my Dad had let me quit college when I wanted too. Ware had no plans, but God had one for him. Aunt Eleanor’s original plan wasn’t realized, but God had something even better in mind.
I know many people whose plans didn’t work out. They didn’t realize their career goals, there marriage didn’t work out, they weren’t able to have children, their health failed, or their hopes of fame and fortune were unrealized.
I take comfort in reading Jeremiah 29:11. Our plans don’t always work out, but God’s got one for us. He tells us that he wants the best for us, and from my experience he knows better than I do what that is. The next time things don’t go as you planned, think about Jeremiah 29:11. Take hope in the fact that Gods got a plan for us, and it’s a good one.