Psalm 40:5 “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, and the plans You have for us--none can compare to You–if I proclaim and declare them, they are more than I can count.”
I was once talking with a friend and he told me a story about a wonderful woman he once knew. She was the wife of a pastor in the church he attended and she was loved by many. Her motto was one she lived out, which was to continually encouraged others. If you ever met this lady you’d hear her tell you that “God has a wonderful plan for your life”, and my friend as well as countless other people were greatly blessed by her encouragement.
One day it was discovered she had cancer and many of the people who had been touched by her love prayed earnestly for her healing. Each time the congregation would come together, they would return the encouragement she once gave and express how much they were praying for her. People believed that God wanted her to be healed and because they cared about her life, it was discouraging to hear the news how the cancer was continuing to grow. With each update the response was the same until eventually this dear sweet lady was overtaken by the cancer and died.
My friends sadness was amplified by the reality of how very little has since been spoken of that lady today. Her legacy of love was far reaching but the memory of her has seemed to fade.
This story might invoke some questions, especially for all who believe that God wants to heal every disease.
*Did God’s “wonderful plan” include dying from cancer?
*Did she die prematurely?
*Why didn’t God answer the prayers of His people?
Did the prayers for healing fall on deaf ears or could it be that God had a different plan?
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.”
The term ‘prosper’ is often attributed to prosperity but it can also be a reference to God’s goodness. In the Hebrew, the word used for ‘prosper’ is ‘Shalom’ which in its simplest version means peace, soundness, or welfare.
When we examine a word of encouragement from God what is He really saying?
*God knows His plans. He doesn’t make them up as He goes, they aren’t a surprise to Him when they conclude. He is very aware of what He is doing and why He is doing it.
Psalm 40:5 “Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”
*God’s wants to give His people peace. The Lord doesn’t say that He is going to remove His people from trouble or heal them every time they get sick, He says that He will impart peace to them and this is a condition that carries them through life regardless of the situation.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
*Evil cannot usurp God’s purposes. Since God is in control, nothing happens to His people without His permission. It is easy to often attribute any seemingly bad circumstance as Satan having his way. The enemy has no authority that was not given to him first.
Psalm 91:9-10 “Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.”
*All that God does is good. The idea that a kind and compassionate woman needs to live a long full life is based off a view of what people think a good life should look like. The future of God’s people is found in a reality that is to come, they have gained everything in Christ by dying to this world. The pleasure of walking with the Lord today is only a taste of the glory that will be found.
Psalm 111:7 “All He does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy.”
*Hope is strengthened when it is placed in something that endures. Our bodies will not endure, they are corrupted by sin and have an expiration date. The world and all that we see will not endure, it too has been corrupted by sin. God establishes the future of His people and His goodness is from everlasting to everlasting. Whatever He does is done from an eternal perspective.
Daniel 4:3 “How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.”
What do all these promises mean for people who have endured loss?
When Jesus prayed to the Father, He prayed according to the authority He had been placed under. Matthew 26:42 “may your will be done”. In John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
Ultimately, it is the will of God that is paramount–not our will based off our preconceived notions.
If we pray for someone to be healed and God has plans to take them home–we are praying contrary to God’s will.
Even though the intent of prayer is meant to be kind and loving by asking for healing, we could be placing God in a position of looking unloving or unkind if His plans don’t match our desires. When understanding is lacking, people are left with all forms of bitterness toward God. It is this type of spiritual practice that ruins the faith of others. If we allow emotion to influence our view of life rather than having a biblical perspective, we might think we know God’s will but find out we were wrong all along.
When others who are weak in their faith see this pattern exhibited in christians, it could give them the impression that God is a liar or that His promises are not true.
Since many people have ambitions for long life and good health, when those plans go awry, faith can also be shaken. The hope of a world that is focused on health, wealth, and prosperity lends itself to judging God’s people’s response to adversity. The world is critical of people who profess faith and therefore doesn’t understand the things of God. Life looks very different for a believer in Christ to the world. Since believers are called to represent Christ to the world, if they represent Him incorrectly they tarnish the way God has revealed Himself as He meant Himself to be known.
God’s plan for His people is beyond anything this world can imagine, the way God works doesn’t always look like success. For those who claim that God has a “wonderful plan for their life”, the encouragement may seem like a pleasant way to lead people to Christ but it is a very poor way to represent the gospel. If people come to God with the false idea of what wonderful looks like to God, they will be frustrated by what they find.
–God’s wonderful plans include dying to this flesh, being extricated from family that disagrees with their faith, ridicule from colleagues who think Jesus was just a man or myth, or possibly martyrdom for living out a faith before others who hate you.
This is the history of the church…persecution, hunger, beatings, imprisonment, and all forms of death.
The wonderful part is what these faithful martyrs have inherited as a result of their faithfulness.
Strength beyond reason.
Mark 11:23 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”
This scripture is a focal point of many who think that God answers all prayer in the affirmative. It is the scripture just previous to this that is key:
Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus said to them.
It is faith in God’s purpose and plan that gives power. If God says “go” and a mountain stands in your way, God will move that which tries to hinder His people. The mountains represent great obstacles that stand in the way. Mountains can seem imposing but to the Lord they are like a rock that is just cast into the water.
Anything that appears as impossible to overcome can be a mountain in your life. If the Lord has instructed you to go and a mountainous obstacle stands in your way, the Lord will remove it—it is His power that guides His people.
the Death of the Saints
Death to this world seems like the end, but to God’s people it is only the beginning.
Have you seen what the Bible says about God’s people who die?
Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints”
Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.”
Philippians 3:21 “Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.“
1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
1 Corinthians 15:42 “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.”
Do any of these sound like God is lamenting the death of His people?
Do any of these sound like they died prematurely?
Does it sound like Satan gained the upper hand by inflicting a disease?
The answer is a resounding NO! To the contrary we see nothing but victory–
Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
God’s people must measure all their responses by God’s truth . They cannot allow the inclinations of the world to infringe upon the ideals that God has established.
A right perspective is a Truth based perspective, it may not be what we always want but it will always be good.
5 thoughts on “God’s Wonderful Plan”
Rick……I have a friend that I am mentoring that I would like to have him be able to read your blogs on his phone. Can I give you his cell #….and plug him in?
May the GOOD LORD bless you for sharing this Rick. Very much needed in these times
I pray you come to know the joy of the Lord in its fullness. Thank you.
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