In January it seems that everyone is focused on their plans—or even not planning. Whether you are one who makes New Year’s Resolutions or not, you cannot escape the deluge of hype about how to fulfill them.
All this planning…I wonder from God’s perspective if it makes Him smile. The plans have been made. Everything is in action. It is happening. The plan is taking place. The only question is whether we will be on board with the plan or not. In Acts 17: 26-31, Luke summarizes all new years for us:
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, We are his offspring.
Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man's design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
What I read here is that the plans are made; they are happening. The only question is when we will get on board? When will we realize that God destined for each of us to be born into an age of inside plumbing? I’m sorry that every time I tour a medieval castle I think to myself, “Those people didn’t know luxury like I do, unless they were able to flush!” Are you as grateful as I am to be living in this century? God has planned it all for us and, whether we open our hearts, minds, and spirits to His plan or not, it will happen all around us.
These plans that God makes are not like the plans that the world makes, always wanting us to fit into its mold. These plans are plans made by the one who knows us—the true us—not the false self. The plans that He made about where we would live and what century we would be born were made from intimate knowledge of how each of us is wired and gifted. His deepest longing is that we will figure out that He is planning for us for our good, so that we will seek Him and reach out for Him. He longs to show us that He is never far from us. We actually live and move and have our being in Him!
I love the language Luke uses in this passage actually to go so far as to say that poets have said it: “We are His offspring.” It is poetic, isn’t it? What a romantic notion to realize that we are the actual dearly beloved children of God!
I say let’s throw away our plans. Rather, let the New Year be a time to focus on God’s plans. May this year find us listening for the plans of God for us. May we open our hearts, minds and spirits to where and what He has for us to do this day, this moment.