“So, did they become friends, and then start dating, and then decide to get married?” the six-year-old asked from the back seat of the car.
“Yes, that’s pretty much what happened,” his mom replied.
“I’m going to skip all that and just go right to the wedding,” he said.
His older brother joined in: “You might want to get to know a person before you decide to marry her.”
“Well, I already know who I’m going to marry,” the six-year-old responded.
We tried to stifle the giggles of the moment. But as I later pondered this little guy’s ideas, I realized his strategy somewhat resembles my own. I make plans and set them in motion, thinking I know the best course of action for every situation. Then when something unexpected happens, I scramble to fix things. After I’ve become frustrated or bent out of shape or even made things worse than they were, I think about checking in with God.
And God reminds me that He has a plan in mind. “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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12, NIV) God gave this promise to His people; they had been taken into captivity in Babylon because they had turned away from God to worship idols time and time again. Yet God promised to bring His people back from exile and to give them a future in the land He had provided.
I’ve been studying a number of the kings of Israel and Judah recently. It’s interesting that, in many cases, the turning away from God began at the top, with the kings themselves. Some of the kings moved the center of worship away from the temple in Jerusalem. Some of the kings constructed idols and encouraged the people to worship them, and they did. One or two asked the Israelites to return to worshiping God, but didn’t remove the idols from the land, so the nation continued to forget God.
Sometimes I wonder why the people turned away from God so readily. But if I’m honest, I have to admit that I’m not all that different. I don’t worship idols, I tell myself. But how often do I neglect to consult with God before I make my plans? How often do I decide on a course of action, and then ask God to bless it? Do I just forget to consult His wisdom?
But still God loves me, and He loves you. He calls us to seek Him, to trust Him, to follow Him. God gave His Son Jesus to forgive us and to turn back our hearts to Him. He sets us on a better path — one that better fits His plans for us. So, wouldn’t it be good to check in with Him?