Bible Society of South Africa

In step with God: Plans with peace - 16 January 2024

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

9You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.

Proverbs 16:9GNBOpen in Bible reader

As I got into the car to go to church, on the morning of New Year’s Eve, I heard the Radio Presenter ask her guest to give their listeners advice on how best to approach the new year, to make good plans. I enjoyed the irony that where I was going, this might well comes into focus, too, as facing a new year is challenging.

We take stock of the accomplishments and disappointments of the old year, and try to assess how we can plan differently, and be prepared for the unexpected. We’re reminded that we face the unknown, and can’t see what lies ahead, so although a new year is invigorating, and holds an element of anticipation at starting afresh with new aspirations – exploring opportunities – it isn’t easy to make foolproof plans.

We need direction at these times; but, actually, it’s not only help with this annual conundrum that we have need – daily we face a complex world. It’s not rocket-science, yet often, like small children making irrational plans, we forget our limitations, and are disappointed when our plans don’t work out – oblivious to a bigger picture.

Today’s verse highlights why God is vital to our planning: He determines whether or not plans come to fruition. He has complete knowledge; His ways are “higher than [our] ways and [his] thoughts than [our] thoughts”. (Isaiah 55:9) We need his guidance. If our plans aren’t wise, we may find our lives disrupted. God wants us to, “seek Him … with all [our] heart” and “find Him”. (Jeremiah 29:13)

He has “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) He works everything for the best for his people from a position of love. (Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:16) But, like the Israelites whom God spoke to through Jeremiah, we need to understand that we submit to his timing, because, even in the darkest times, when he appears to have forgotten us, he will keep his promise.

He has said, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) We can know that, no matter what happens, we will experience hHis peace when we embark on a new year in step with God.

When we’re growing in our relationship with God, we spend time with him; our faith flourishes, and as his Word transforms our understanding, He guides our expectations as he, “rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Perhaps, this year, we should look to the One who controls Time and Future, and pray with the psalmist: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

Wouldn’t we be wise to make our plans with the One “who establishes our steps”?

Prayer: Gracious Lord, you have appointed, “a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1), guide me in your wisdom this year as in faith I follow you. Amen

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