Proverbs 19:20-21: “Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”

In the course of my life I have made many plans, not the least of which was moving from Germany to the United States. After switching countries I had to start over in every aspect of my life – socially, professionally, you name it. And as my English vocabulary grew, so grew my horizon. Steeped in more than one culture has had that effect on me.

However, as a person walking by faith there is another important element to life, and that is the fact that God has plans for my life too. Sometimes my planning coincides with His plans, but clearly, sometimes it absolutely doesn’t. It’s when life happens. Nobody plans to have an accident. Nobody plans a layoff. Sometimes we plan to have children, and it doesn’t happen, or the other way around – we don’t plan to have children, and we know how that goes!

Getting all the advice and instruction we can is indeed the best way to plan for the unplanned, for situations that catch us off-guard. On a personal note, my faith has helped me through many bumpy roads, and through it all I’ve gained a deeper connection with both God and people.

The best way to look at things we have no control over – and we actually don’t have control over a myriad of things – is to trust His promise that God has good plans for you and me. Trust in the Lord’s goodness in the face of adversity. Trust Him that He is near when He seems far. Trust His resources that He can help, especially when we are at the end of our rope. That’s the best we can do in any crisis. That’s the best we can do when none of our plans seem to come to fruition.

On that note: God has a better plan for you or anybody in this world than anything that you and I could come up with. So, let’s not give up dreaming even though our plans may have fallen through. As long as there is a today we need to continue planting seeds of hope and love wherever we go. “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” – is a famous quote from Old Martin Luther who was born on November 10, 1483 and died on February 18, 1546. We all are born to live and die at some point, but we could plant a lot of apple trees along the way; other people will sit in its shade and enjoy the fruit without even knowing the person who planted it. And with all the seed-bearing apples involved, a whole orchard could grow out of that one tree. – You get the point!

However, as we are getting busy planting our apple trees to leave a legacy behind, let’s not forget that everything good we accomplish is God’s gift. And all the running and anxiousness we are prone to will finally come to an end when we see Him on the other side of Heaven. The most important truth that stands forever is this: God loves us, and He is merciful. We don’t have to make Him love us. He loves us already. We don’t have to convince Him to be merciful. He is full of mercy and understands us like no other. That’s a good reason to smile.

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile!” Charlie Chaplin

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