WHEN THINGS DON’T GO ACCORDING TO PLAN Andy Hollifield 1-28-19
There are a lot of instances in the bible where things didn’t go according to plan in people’s lives. Everything from David and Bathsheba’s baby dying in 2 Samuel to Samson dying prematurely because he had divulged the secret of his strength to his wife that he had chosen from among the enemy in the book of Judges. Elijah getting threatened by Jezebel in 1 Kings after being obedient to God and even the disciples which according to history, all met violent deaths after giving their lives following the Lord. Especially Peter, who after being the first to stand by the Lord and one of only two recorded to have attended the crucifixion, then denied knowing Christ three times in one day.
Before I get too far along let me go back and remind you about the final end of all of these I have mentioned. First, even though the child of David’s affair with Bathsheba died and the sword would never depart out of David’s house, David still became Israel’s greatest king and is in the lineage of Christ and was even called a man after God’s own heart. He went on to have the wisest king the world has ever known for a son and his son went on to build a huge, elaborate temple for the Lord. Solomon became known far and wide for his wisdom which was a gift from God. I am sure the day that baby died, David wouldn’t have ever considered any of these things possible after events concerning this child didn’t go according to his plans.
You can bet your life that if Samson could have known that telling his secret to his wife would have eventually cost him not only his strength but also his eyesight, he would have likely made different plans. Samson not only went down in history as the strongest man in the bible, but he also, after asking God for his strength back one more time, killed more of the Philistines in his death than he had in his entire life.
Had Elijah’s faith not have been overtaken by his fear, God may have blessed him even greater than he had. As it was, he went on to anoint two kings and a prophet to take his place who did twice as many miracles in his life than Elijah did. We like to talk about how Elijah ran scared after defeating the prophets of Baal. Sometimes we tend to forget that this same man was taken to heaven by horses of fire and a chariot of fire. I am sure he had never planned on running from Jezebel but we are all subject to run when our faith gets weak.
Peter is another one that had a lot of things in his life that didn’t go according to plan. Not only did he tell the Lord he would never deny him, he was the only one that pulled his sword to defend Jesus the night of his arrest. Peter was even hesitant to believe Jesus when he told him how things were going to happen. Sure enough, rather than standing by the Lord’s side he followed afar off. He also denied the Lord three times even resorting to cursing some of the ones that accused him of being Jesus’ disciple. We like to remember him sinking while walking to Jesus on the water, but we sometimes fail to remember he was the only one that got out of the boat. Sometimes Peter’s quick temper and brashness got him in bad situations and I am sure none of those things went how he would have had them planned.
Now on the flip side of Peter’s life, he was given the job of strengthening the brethren when he got converted. On the day of Pentecost, he was the first to stand up and preach and 3000 souls were saved in one meeting. With all of his faults and failures and the things that didn’t go according to plan in his life, he was also the one that Jesus chose to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. Following the resurrection, he was the first to go into the empty tomb and the only disciple to get invited by name to see Jesus in Galilee.
I am sure if you could have told all of the disciples on day one when they started following Jesus what the end of their life was going to be, I am sure that wasn’t what they had planned when they started. I also personally don’t believe they would have changed a thing.
One more case to prove that: Do you think Moses would have ever came out of the palace had he not murdered an Egyptian and wound up being a royal fugitive? He went from the palace to the pasture, from a grandson to Pharoah to a shepherd on the backside of the desert. Do you think he would have ever imagined in his wildest dreams that after making a wreck of his life that he did, he would have ever been used by God to not only deliver God’s people but also to bring the law from God to them. I would say that very little of Moses’ life actually went according to his plan.
The whole point of this is simple. Even though things don’t always go according to our plans, God has plans of his own for our lives. Our failures are the things that keep us humble before him. God specializes in using broken things and that includes our lives. The examples I have shown are just a few of many throughout scripture. If God can use murderers like Moses and David, and impulsive men like Samson and Peter, and scared men like Elijah to do the things they did; he can use you. You don’t think so? He used a bunch of fishermen, a tax collector, a doctor, and who knows what else, to spread the gospel to the world and help the establishment of his church. If God can do all of that with them; he will have no problem being able to use me and you; even as bad as we may have messed up our lives. He doesn’t look for ability but for availability. He doesn’t look for knowledge but for people willing to learn. He doesn’t look for leaders, he looks for people willing to follow him. God can use us all even “when things don’t go according to plan.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!