Listen to this story
By Greg Gerber
Many people of faith wish the ability to discern God’s plan for their lives was as simple as visiting www.plan.god, entering a name and birthdate, and then sit back as the perfect plan unfolds on the screen.
But, life isn’t that simple.
Don’t get me wrong. God certainly has a plan for your life, as he states in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God also has an adversary who makes it his primary mission to destroy God’s plans.
1 Peter 5:8 warns, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
So how are we to truly know what God’s plan is for our lives? It’s really pretty simple, but incredibly hard to adopt.
Throughout the Bible, God reveals his plans often with these words – “Get up…go there.”
He did that shortly after Jesus was born when he told Joseph, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
He did that with Moses, as outlined in Exodus 9:13-14: “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth.”
God did that with Gideon in Judges 7:9: “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands.”
God did again in Ezekiel 3:22: “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.”
In Matthew 9:6, Jesus told a paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
In Acts 9:6, when Jesus encountered Paul on the road to Damascus, he said “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
God delivers supernatural instructions to us, but we must be listening for them. I don’t think it is a coincidence that some of the people got instructions in a dream, when their minds were not occupied on 10,000 other distractions.
God will reveal his plan one step at a time, and that frustrates me a great deal. I’m a kind of guy who wants to see the destination first, then I’ll get up and start walking toward that.
But God won’t often allow us to see beyond that one solitary step he tells us to take, and there is a reason behind his strategy.
If all we see is one step ahead, then it is unlikely that we’ll be able to insert ourselves into the situation and mess up the plan. I suspect I would be gifted at messing up God’s plans, if I knew what they were.
By revealing his very specific plan one step at a time, God also prevents Satan from catching on to what is about to transpire so that he can interfere with the plan, too.
Remember when Jesus told Peter to go down to the lake, catch a fish and look for a four-drachma coin inside so they could pay their taxes? (Matthew 17:27)
It was very specific instructions – Go to the lake, cast out one line, take the first fish, open its mouth, find the coin, and pay the tax.
Which leads me to another point. When we hear from God what steps we are supposed to take, we can’t dawdle. We need to act, and act quickly.
Once we are aware of God’s plan, then God’s adversaries are tipped that something is happening or about to happen as well. Then, they can muster people to thwart that plan.
In the above example, if Peter had not acted quickly, Satan could have flooded that beach with dozens of fishermen or other people throwing rocks into the lake to scare the fish Peter was meant to catch.
There have been a number of times I was given specific instructions as to what to do, where to go, who to call, etc. But, I put it on the to-do list rather than acting quickly. By the time I finally go around to doing it, an opportunity had passed.
Do you ever find yourself wandering in circles, never able to get out of the rut your life has become?
I suspect that if you were honest with yourself, you would admit that there was something God told you to do, urged you to give up, suggested you take a different direction, encouraged you to reconcile a relationship or make a difficult decision – and each one of those required an act of faith.
God will not reveal Step 2 until Step 1 has been accomplished.
So, keep your mind open and your ears alert to listening to God’s whispering voice telling you to “Get up…go there.”
And by all means, keep a notebook by your bed to write down those unusual revelations, instructions, solutions or ideas that seem to come in the middle of the night. Then get going! The first step is the most difficult.