…I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits (1 Corinthians 16:7).
Even the best of desires may not be brought to fruition here on earth. Even our best kingdom visions may never be fulfilled. And even our best plans may never come to pass.
Here even the apostle Paul himself admits that his plans are fallible and must therefore be flexible. “I have made my very best plans,” Paul says, “and am operating according to them to the best of my ability—but all the while in the recognition that my plans may not be God’s plans.”
We must submit even our best plans and purposes to God’s plans and purposes.
We must plan, and we should have hope, but we must always plan and hope with the realization that our plans will only come to pass if the Lord permits. This is what the writer of Proverbs is impressing on us when he observes that a man’s heart plans his own way, but the Lord is the one who actually establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).
We must submit even our best plans and purposes to God’s plans and purposes. This should not be done reluctantly, merely out of a recognition of God’s superior authority. We ought to joyfully submit to God’s sovereign working in our lives, out of a recognition of his superior wisdom.
It is not only possible that God may overrule our plans by his greater power, but it is also true that if God does overrule our plan it is because he has greater wisdom than we do. He has a greater good in mind than we could possibly have ever imagined or purposed! We must therefore operate both out of a recognition of God’s sovereignty, and out of a deep sense of our responsibility: “I will, I hope, I plan to … if the Lord permits.”