Whose Plans?

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.”

Proverbs 19:21  Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

The old adage that people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan usually strikes a cord with some of us. There is another adage that says if you want to make God laugh, make plans. We’ve probably all felt that way at times too.

My wife, Wendy, is a second grade teacher who is very adept at planning. I used to work with a surgeon who always told his residents, “Plan your work and work your plan.”  I have some skill in planning, but it varies from Wendy’s. We complement each other well.

Beginning with Thanksgiving, we thoroughly enjoyed our holidays in 2021. In fact, the worst part was finding common dates and times for our family gatherings. The planning was excruciating!

My favorite memories of the 2021 holidays were unplanned (at least by me): 

  • With phenomenal contributions, Sue Healey produced an amazing Advent Devotional. There was a steady stream of wisdom by so many wise people. Thank you so much to Sue and all who contributed.
  •  I left December 18 unplanned. I had finished exams the day before and Wendy was on a trip to see the lights in Chicago. I thought I might do some shopping. My son, Nick, was given three tickets to the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s “Sounds of the Season” concert at 3 p.m. that day. With just a couple hours notice, I jumped at the chance to hear the KSO. My sister, Camille, was in town on another errand and used the third ticket. The music was heavenly! We pooled our gift cards for snacks and drinks at Starbucks afterward. It only cost $1.39 out of pocket for all  three of us for the entire afternoon!

The popular proverb “The best things in life are free” is attributed to the 1927 musical “Good News.” The 2021 holidays reminded me they can be unplanned as well.


Prayer: Loving and gracious God, we are too busy. Help us to make plans which include you. Make us flexible and open to the leading of your spirit.


Nathan Martens