When God Changes Your Plans
Has God ever called you do something but it was not what you expected? In fact, deep in your heart you wanted to say no to the call? Or, you wanted to have God do it your way, but he still nudged you to move forward and agree to his plan?
We all have experienced seasons in life where God calls us to his plan which then alters our plans. The hard part of changing our plan is accepting that God is the culprit.
So, what do you do when God changes your plans?
There is a story in Acts 10 about a man named Cornelius and Peter. God chooses these two men to accomplish his plan. We can learn from both of these men on how we should respond to God when he changes our plans.
God calls Cornelius to send three men to bring Peter to his house. Cornelius was a Gentile and Peter was a Jew. Jews and Gentiles did not associate with each other but despite this caveat Cornelius chooses to be obedient. In your life, whatever God is calling you do, be obedient. Do not hesitate to do what God is asking you to do. What has God been asking you to do lately? Is God calling you to a new job, to be a parent, to ministry, to reconcile a relationship? Whatever God is asking you to do, be obedient.
While the men, sent from Cornelius, were on their way to meet Peter, he was having his own vision from God. God showed Peter a picture of a sheet with four footed animals. Then God told Peter to kill and eat, at which Peter said, “Surely not, LORD!” (Acts 10:12). Peter says to God “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean. God responds to Peter and says “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” (Acts 10:14-15).
God was showing this vision to Peter because he needed to deal with Peter’s attitude of prejudice. Peter had been taught to believe that Gentiles were beneath the status of Jews. In fact, the Jews and Gentiles hated each other and would get into fights. Peter had a sinful heart full of racism. God could not use Peter to his full potential until he relinquished his belief of superiority.
In your life, what sin does God need to deal with before he releases you to do the next step in his plan? Do you need to lay down your attitude of greed, lust, racism, pride, or bitterness? God wants you move forward in his plan but he will need you to deal with sin that is lingering in your heart.
As the LORD was tugging at Peter’s heart, the men sent by Cornelius arrive at his doorstep. The Holy Spirit told Peter to go and meet the men. It’s amazing to think that God was setting up this meeting. God orchestrated the vision with Cornelius, sent the men to Joppa, Peter had his vision from God, and now the men were at his door. God was aligning all of the moving parts of the story to fulfill his plan. As we are obedient to God and repent of sins God can align everything in our life to fulfill his plan.
Whatever God plans are for your life – career, job, marriage, children, travelling, opportunities, ministry - God knows how to line up the right people, at the right place, at the right time. God can align all the moving parts.
Cornelius did not set out to speak to Peter. Peter did not set out to speak to Cornelius, but this was God’s plan. God was using both of these men to accomplish the bigger plan, which was for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be heard by all people. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own plans that we forget that God has a bigger plan for us.
In my personal life I did not set out to be called by God to become a minister, but this was God’s plan for my life. My plan was to finish university, get married, and have children. Yet, my story has been different from my plan. After accepting my call from God to minister, I completed my Masters and Doctorate degree. In 2008, God called myself and others to launch a church which I have been pastoring at for over eleven years. I have also had the opportunity to travel to countries around the world.
Becoming a wife and a mother is still something I hope to see fulfill in my life. In the meantime, I doing my best to obey God, have him deal with any sin in my life, letting him align all the moving parts, and believing that my life is part of something bigger than myself.
Right now, I can’t see the big picture the way God sees everything. Looking back, I am sure I will be able to say that God’s plan was better than mine and I was used by God to accomplish something bigger than myself.