Thursday, April 19, 2012

Planning for the Future

We plan the way we want to live,
   but only God makes us able to live it.
-- Proverbs 16:9 (Message)

A friend of mine used to say, "If you ever want to make God laugh, just say you have a plan."  My undergraduate degree was in Urban and Regional Planning.  With the wild-eyed passion of a twenty-something I launched my planning career, believing fervently in the social good and rationality of land use, housing, and economic development planning.  I fought the good fights in city and county government offices.  Planning won some of the time; more often, it lost its intent to compromises and lack of enforcement power.  So I grew cynical and changed professions.

I have also watched young married couples sit down and draw out precise plans for their lives.  They define exactly when they'll have their first job and where, where to buy a house, when to have children, how far apart to space them, etc.  Amazing to me, a rare few actually stay precisely with their plans as drawn out.  More often though, the best laid plans of mice and men get fouled up by life itself.  An "F" in a course, accidents, cancer, death, infertility, economic downturn, and thousands of other events alter the plans we set.  A disconcerting fact of life is that we really can't know the future.  So is our hope based in the brilliance of our plans for the future and our power to implement them, or in something more solid?

There is something more solid in life than our plans.  In the central creeds for the Christian faith after affirming belief in God, Christ and Holy Spirit, they say, "I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, in the resurrection of the body, and the life in the world to come."  These enduring fundamentals of faith do not change whatever befalls us!  Even the greatest doubt you might possess can't change them.  God stands outside of this time and space and holds us safely, even when all we may see is the burning ruins of what we had envisioned for our lives.  God holds tight, and on that fact you can hold tight as well.

God of mercy, Christ of mercy be there for us.  Empower our faith to withstand the throes of all that destroys our best laid plans.  Help us to find you as the center for our peace.  Amen.


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