When Plans Fail


Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Proverbs 19:21

Sometimes the hardest thing to admit is failure.  Many of us go in to ministry thinking we are “ready”, only to realize we are not.  We have so many great ideas, and just can’t wait to implement them in our new ministry assignment.  But what happens when the best of ideas simply does not work?

Granted, culture plays a big part in this.  Things that seemed to work perfectly in our “home culture” just don’t work as well in our adopted one.  It can be very discouraging and leave one feeling like nothing will ever work.  It may even leave us second-guessing our calling.  So how do we react when this happens?

I think the worst thing we can do is refuse to admit that our plan failed.  Many times I have witnessed ministry people who are bound and determined to prove that God gave them this plan and it will work!  And even when it obviously does not, pride makes it almost impossible to admit.  Please understand I am not talking about compromising truth or giving in on essentials.  I am simply referring to having a plan of how we will carry out a certain ministry.  Since when is there only one way to do that?  Being “married” to our plan means it is really about us and not about the one who is ultimately to be glorified.

God’s desire is to see people saved, to be reconciled to Him, to live lives that honor and glorify Him.  If we can keep our eyes focused on His plan, then ours will not be so important and so unyielding.  A failed plan does not mean that I am a failure.  It simply means that God is choosing to close that door and open another one.  Am I willing to admit my plan did not work and seek another way to see His plan accomplished?

Plans are not bad.  We need to constantly be seeking ways to point others to Christ, and planning is an important part of the process.  But let’s not forget that ultimately God’s plan is so much greater than ours.  We see a glimpse, but He sees the whole picture. So let’s keep planning.  But remember, when our plan fails, it is not the end.  It is simply a detour that will lead to an even better purpose.  And His purpose WILL prevail!


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