“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
Have you come across that before?
Or how about: “If you tell God that you don’t want to do something that’s what he will want you to do.”
If the latter is true: I don’t want to drive an Aston Martin car, I don’t want to have a perfect golf swing and I don’t want to have my own TV magic show.
[Still waiting for all of those three to happen].
I think I know what people are trying to say when they say these sorts of thing. It sometimes seems to be the case that God asks us to do the things we are most reluctant to do. Have a look at Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3 or read the book of Jonah. And I know too that my plans and thoughts may well lack God’s imagination, vision and expansiveness.
But behind these ideas is also a hint that God is a bit mean, vindictive, cruel, unkind… What sort of God would mock me? What sort of God would deliberately decide to ask me to do the things I least want to do? Not the sort of God I believe in. It’s very un-God.
These ideas say more about me than about him. They suggest that my understanding of him is too limited if I think he won’t want me to discuss my plans with him. They suggest that I have a restricted relationship with him where I am less than honest with him (or myself). They indicate that my knowledge of him is hampered by negativity and that I have not grasped just how much God is ‘for’ me. I don’t think God laughs at me in a mocking way, but I think he smiles at me in a loving, warm, ‘bless you’ way.
I don’t think God laughs when I tell him my plans. But if he is God and I am me, I would do well to listen to him and allow my plans to be shaped by him. And if his plans differ significantly from mine he is gracious enough to allow me to choose which ones I want to follow, to pick me up if (when) I get it wrong, and to make a fresh start.
I don’t think God is looking for me to do the opposite to what I want to do. But if he is God and I am me, perhaps I would do well to be willing to do what he wants, as he probably knows better than I do. Perhaps rather than asking him to send someone else or running away to Joppa (see Moses and Jonah, above) I could consider that what he wants would be good to do even if it is difficult, uncomfortable, or didn’t appear in my list of 100 things I would like to do in my life. After all I won’t be doing it alone or in my own strength. (And if I am then I need to make another attitude adjustment!).
Be blessed, be a blessing.