As Saul neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Acts 9:1-4
One day, while my son Zac and I were out in the country, climbing around in some cliffs, I heard a voice from above me yell, "Hey Dad! Catch me!" I turned around to see Zac joyfully jumping off a rock straight at me. He had jumped and then yelled, "Hey Dad!" I became an instant circus act, catching him. We both fell to the ground. For a moment after I caught him I could hardly talk. When I found my voice again, I gasped in exasperation: "Zac! Can you give me one good reason why you did that???" He responded with remarkable calmness: "Sure...because you're my dad." His whole assurance was based on the fact that his father was trustworthy. He could live life to the hilt because I could be trusted. Isn't this even more true for a Christian? Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher, pp. 46-47.
God can, and sometimes, He does change our plans even when we don’t share the details with Him. He does not need our permission to keep our lives on track with His divine will. After all, He is the one who will clean up our messes after we hit the proverbial brick wall by trying to do the things that are pleasing to ourselves. God is patient and longsuffering, but He will also step in when necessary to keep us from forfeiting our eternal inheritance.
In today’s text, Saul was on the road to Damascus with the sole purpose of terrorizing Christians. His plan was to arrest as many Christians as possible to stifle the growth of the budding Christian movement throughout Asia minor. After witnessing the death of Stephen, Saul was emboldened and sought to elevate his religious profile by going to the High Priest to ask for letters to the synagogue at Damascus to arrest Christians. But while on the road to Damascus, God changed Saul’s plan. He fell from his horses, was blinded by a light from heaven, and was forced to become one of the very people he intended to persecute.
As frustrating as it may be when God changes our plans without our permission, it is always done for our greater good. God has changed my plans on numerous occasions despite my objections. However, when I look in the rearview mirror of time, I can see those changes were for my good and kept me closer to the Almighty. Therefore, we must trust the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our understanding when our plans are forcibly changed by Him.
As I get older, I am learning not to be disappointed in the achievements I did not reach. I have learned to resist the temptation to fantasize about what I could have been or wanted to do. Instead, I am relishing the challenge to walk according to God’s divine purpose for my life. Ultimately, I prefer to be in alignment with God’s assignment for me than to pursue my personal agenda to the detriment of my relationship with Him.
Those who are struggling to accept how God has changed their plans should spend time getting familiar with God’s plans for them. This is what Saul did after he was blinded by the light on the road to Damascus. He spent the time to talk to God and learn how to be the new person God has called him to become. For you, that may be learning how to live without a six figures salary, or learning how to live with an illness, learning how to be the primary caregiver of a sick loved one, or learning how to do something different than what you’ve been doing for many years. The good news is that whatever God’s new plan for your life is, it will make you better, wiser, and stronger in your Christian walk.
Questions for Personal Reflection
How has God changed your plans?
What have you learned from the experience of having your plans changed by God?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please help me to trust and obey when you change my plans. May I not become disobedient and stiff neck when you are calling me to seek your will instead of doing what I want to do. May those who are resisting and rejecting your plans for their lives learn the benefits of living in alignment with your assignment for them.