Kingdom Alignment: My Plans And Desires

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"God bless my plan." For a very long time I have said this mockingly as an example of exactly the type of prayer we should not pray. Living a Christian life requires us to surrender our lives to Christ, which means we live according to his plan and not ours. I still believe that to be true, but recently found a little more insight that indicated there may be more nuance to the point than I have realized.

I have been so obsessive about not asking God to bless my plan, that at times I have asked nothing more in prayer than God to reveal himself in circumstances and to people that I present. Asking for something specific, however, seemed to cross over into asking God to bless my goal rather than surrender to his plan. That was a line I did not want to cross.

Recently, I aggravated an old rotator cuff injury. The situation is not nearly as bad as it was at the time of the initial injury, but still problematic. As I have with my life, I have surrendered my body and my health to the Holy Spirit for use in accordance with God's plan for the Kingdom. So at first I was not going to pray for improvement in my shoulder. Either it was within his plan to heal it or to use the injury in some way. So that was that. Nothing more to be said.

But then it occurred to me that perhaps it was neither within God's plan to heal me nor to use my injured shoulder. Could there be something that is just outside God's plan? I know God's plan for humanity is that we all age, deteriorate, and die on vastly different timelines and causes. So I know that if I were to pray to be as vigorous as I was at age sixteen that request likely would not be within his plan. But what about my shoulder? Many seventy-year-old men have shoulders without problems. I certainly desire that. Could it be that God might restore my shoulder to the way it was before my recent aggravation simply because I desire it to be so?

Psalm 18:19 (NIV) says, "he rescued me because he delighted in me." God may bless us and answer our prayer not because what we seek is also something he will use for the Kingdom, but simply because he delights in us. His plan is broad enough to reach our plans and desires because his plan includes his delight in us and nothing more. So I concluded that perhaps it would be OK for me to ask for relief for my shoulder.

As I reflected on the possibility that God may take delight in my plans and desires, I also was struck be several things. First, whatever my plan or desire may be it cannot be inconsistent with God's plan. We can discern God's plan from scripture, our experience of the Holy Spirit, and the wee small voice of our conscience. Insofar as my shoulder is concerned, I also had to recognize that God may have a use for me with an impaired shoulder. He might simply be reminding me that I am aging and moving toward the end of his plan for me here. He might have someone to put in my path with a similar injury where he might use me to relate to that person. Or I just may not see why he does not delight in fixing my shoulder. So before I ask him to improve my shoulder I have to have a heart willing to accept all of those possibilities. In other words, I have to have an obedient spirit no matter how my prayer might be answered.

So I prayed about this insight. I have come to accept that it is OK to pray "God bless my plan, but..." And the but is as long as it is not inconsistent with God's plan for the Kingdom and my place in it. I cannot tell you, however, how freeing it is to accept that God delights in me as I am. If you have not found that freedom, ask for it. As I discovered, all I needed to do was accept it.

PS. My shoulder is better. Not wholly as It was before my recent aggravation but much better than it was. Whether for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months, I don't know. I just rejoice that God has delighted in me for however long it may be.

© 2024, Thomas M. Trezise

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Welcome, I'm Tom

I'm Tom Trezise a retired lawyer and corporate executive with over twenty years of experience as a Methodist lay preacher. Raised in Appalachia, I proudly call myself a hillbilly at heart. I'm the executive director of The Everyday Kingdom, a non-profit devoted to fostering a community that helps people find and experience the peace, purpose, and joy available from living every day in Christ’s kingdom.

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