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October 20, 2021 -- "Thwarted Plans"

In the first chapter of Deuteronomy, Moses reminds the people of a time when they decided to go to battle. As they prepared to do this, the Lord told them, “Do not go up and do not fight, for I am not in the midst of you; you will be defeated by your enemies” (Duet.1:42). The people thought their plan was full-proof and so off to battle they went, only to find their plans were thwarted, and they were defeated. Sometimes God thwarts our plans.

Thwarted plans are frustrating.

Like you, I know first hand what it feels like to have a plan thwarted, and yet, the older I get, the more I am realizing that God has better vision than I do. Often our plans are based on what we can see at the moment, whereas when God looks at our lives, he has what I call the “long vision.” God is able to see much further into the future and therefore knows what we truly need. Sometimes our “short vision” plans don’t mesh with God’s long-vision plans and that’s when God thwarts the plan – much to our anger, but also much to our good.

A recent case in point: at Argyle Lutheran we found that we had a hive of German Yellow-jackets. They burrowed underneath the siding of the church, directly above a basement window. They started coming into the basement. We assumed that they were accidently getting in, through some small opening along the window frame.

We had a plan – we’d set traps go catch them. When that failed, I had a plan to get wasp spray and take them out – Rambo style. My plan was simple: spray the buggers until I could get up to the hive and then spray up into the hole until I got them all. My simple plan was thwarted as the spray only seemed to tick them off, and each time, I went on the offensive, I soon found myself retreating – quickly!

We called in a professional. This past Thursday, I met the Pest Control person and he assessed the situation. As he was looking things over, I mentioned that we had quite a few coming into the basement. When I told him how many, he said “Can we go into the basement and check things out?”

Once there, I showed him the windows and said, “There must be a crack that they’re accidently going into and getting into the basement,” I told him. He looked at me dubiously and said, “No, they’ve burrowed a path into the church.” This never crossed my mind.

We stood by the window for a minute or two, and low and behold out from a small crease in the wall about six inches from the window a yellow-jacket came out. “I’ll be back Saturday, to get the hive,” he told me. “But before I do, you need to duct tape this entrance point.” He went on to explain that if he sprayed the outside hive, without sealing up the entrance point in the basement, we would have had a basement full of Yellow-jackets.

I couldn’t help but laugh when I thought about what would have happened if my plan wasn’t thwarted. Armed with four bottles of wasp killer, I would have made my way to the hive and then sprayed the heck out of it until no wasps were coming out. Then I would have thrust my arms to the sky and let out a victory cry. … only to have someone inform me that we had a basement was full of yellow-jackets.

Sometimes we get frustrated and angry when our plans don’t work out. Often we blame God for the failures. But maybe its time to trust God’s long-vision; maybe, just maybe, God knows what’s best for us, and because of that he has to impede our short-vision plans.

In the case mentioned above, I surely thank the good Lord, for thwarting my plan.

~ God bless, Dan

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