by Jeremy Taylor
When I was a kid, those words meant one of two things. Either the situation was about to get better, or things were about to get worse.
Once on a family vacation, my parents informed my siblings and me that we would be driving late into the night. But after dinner, my dad said, “Change of plans.” We had passed a hotel with an outdoor pool, and he and Mom decided to stop early.
Another time, I lied about something stupid and got caught. The following day we had a fun family outing scheduled. “Change of plans,” my dad told me. “Because you lied, you’ll be staying home.”
Whether a change of plans is good or bad, altering course is always hard. It makes us realize we are not as in control of our lives as we would like.
In the spring of 2020, the whole world’s plans changed. When COVID-19 invaded our lives, whole nations were effectively shut down. Schools and businesses were closed, churches were forced to meet online, and all but “essential” workers were encouraged to “stay safe, stay home.”
Changing plans so abruptly and so completely was a new experience for most people, but it was not new for anyone who has suddenly faced a devastating diagnosis, dealt with the unexpected loss of a loved one, lived through a job loss, suffered a crippling accident, or any number of other blindsiding events.
In such times, what a comfort it is to know that God’s plans don’t change. The Bible makes it clear that God does not change his mind (Num. 23:19), is not taken by surprise even when events threaten to overwhelm us (Isa. 45:21), and is walking with us each step of our journey through the hardest times (Ps. 23:4). God’s mission was set in place before the creation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and he is accomplishing it through all the circumstances of our lives.
God’s mission, in the words of David Bosch, is “the redemption of the universe.” God’s plan since before time began has been to bring his creation into perfect alignment with him through Jesus Christ. Our task as followers of Jesus is to joyfully participate in that mission even when our plans radically change. That’s what the Great Commission is all about. And when we do that, no matter what our circumstances, we can be assured of God’s favor.
In times of great and tumultuous change, we take comfort in knowing that we’ll never hear God say, “Change of plans.” Instead, if we follow God’s plan, one day we’ll hear him say, “Well done!”
In difficult times, what a comfort it is to know that God’s plans don’t change.
When your plans change suddenly, do you acknowledge God’s sovereignty, or do you attempt to lean on your own understanding? Are there ways in which you could trust God’s plans more?