Guest column: When God changes your plans

Have you ever started out on a path that was good, only to have your plans derailed? This seems to be the story of my life. I always feel like I’m starting out with a good plan, but as things progress, I somehow get diverted to a path I never expected.

This is how I ended up in Charlotte. I was on my way to a good life in Chicago, but one day, God derailed my plans. Before I knew it, I was in a different city with a different calling, following a completely different plan.

Isn’t it funny how God completely changes our plans? It’s as if He does not recognize all of the thought, effort and planning that we put into making our lives exactly what we think they should be. We can set our minds on what we believe is best for us but when God steps in, He seems to change everything.

When God derails your plans, money saved for vacation turns into money for a mission trip. Weekend plans to relax can turn into a weekend of helping to meet the needs of others. When God takes over your plans, there’s no telling what He will do.

This is exactly what happened to Paul in the book of Acts. He was working his own plans for what he believed would be a good life when God came and changed everything. After hearing the voice of Jesus on the path to fulfill his plans, Paul was derailed in an instant that would change him for a lifetime.

Before he knew it, Paul was moving to a different city with a different calling, following a completely different plan. While Paul might have thought that his plan was good, he would soon discover that God’s plan was better.

The good news about God’s diversions is that they will always lead us to something better. No matter how good you think your plans may be, Paul reminds us that God’s plans for our lives are better than any of us could ever imagine. He encourages us in Ephesians 3:20, saying, “God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” (The Message Bible.)

Not only are God’s plans better for us, but they are also better for others. If God had not derailed Paul’s plans, many Gentiles and many nations might have missed an opportunity to hear the Gospel through him.

The next time you face a divine diversion, don’t succumb to frustration, but let your fears turn to faith. Believe that God’s plans are not only better for you, but they are also better for the people around you.

And so, rather than push for your own plans, learn to surrender to God’s plans for your life. In God’s view, there are people He wants you to reach, places He wants you to see, and dreams He wants you to accomplish that are far better than anything you could imagine for yourself.