The plan was set. This was my very first time leading a small group meeting for my church. I had called every kid who was in the group and let them know the plan. The day was set, the snacks were ready and the time had arrived. I sat on the floor next to the front door. There was a thin window that stretched from the floor to the ceiling and I pulled back the dark red curtain peering out the window anxiously awaiting the first guest to arrive.
Twenty minutes later my anticipation had melted and I closed the curtain and scooted back against the wall. Dismayed, discouraged, and full of doubt. No one had come. The plan had failed.
Maybe you can remember a time in your life when the plan completely fell apart, maybe it wasn’t too long ago. When we are staring at the face of defeat it is hard to focus on anything else other than our own short comings and failures, wondering what went wrong. Sometimes the best thing we can do is take our eyes off of ourselves and place them on God. He has a plan too and even when our plans blow up, His plans for our lives remain.
And His plans never fail.
In Acts chapter 5 he church was just getting started and already some of the early apostles find themselves under arrest. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the same religious leaders who put Jesus to death would want to kill them too… Why do people always want to kill the followers of Jesus? A better question might be who has tried to kill you lately? *Ahem* Moving on. One of the pharisees stood up and gave this advice to his peers.
Acts 5:38-39 (ESV) So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice,
This man spoke into the confusion held by the religious leaders and rightly pointed out past movements that were similar to this one and every time the leader was killed and his follower dispersed. “If this is the same as that, a movement started by a man then just be patient and the whole thing will self destruct and we won’t get any blood on our hands! But if it is truly from God then what could we do anyway?”
The pharisees took his advice! Even they understood if something is from the Lord, no one can stop it!
Then they tried to stop it.
A man named Saul was particularly passionate about putting an end to this blasphemy.
Acts 8:3-4 (ESV) But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
I am certain the enemy was thrilled with Saul’s actions. He had seemingly sent the church running scared, they were no longer localized, but they scattered running in every direction. Except that it had the opposite affect. It didn’t hurt the church, but helped the message of Jesus spread even further! God’s plans never fail!
Too often we rush into action with a plan of our own without taking time to consider if our plan is a part of God’s plan. Just because it seems like a great idea to us, does not make it so.
Proverbs 16:25 (ESV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
This verse is kind of terrifying. I know for sure many times in my life when I had such a great idea, only it was not a great idea. It was a terrible idea. When making life decisions it is always good to pray about it and seek counsel. Always line your plans up with God’s word.
In the same way when you know God has spoken to you and you set out to obey, stay the course. Doubt will come your way, but don’t lose heart. A few years after my agonizing first attempt at leading a small group, I was leading a thriving small group that averaged 25 people. If I had given up on that first attempt, I wouldn’t have ever found success as a small group leader and I maybe wouldn’t even be in ministry today.
Praise God that even when things are not looking like we expected, even when things seem like they’re not working at all, His plans never fail!