There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel-that will stand.
I’ve had many pursuits in my life, many plans that I’ve chased after. In the moment they seemed foolproof, guaranteed success, but in the end they all failed. I had success for a time, even large success, but ultimately all of my own pursuits have failed miserably. For a time it seemed as though God’s plans for me were always in contradiction to my own desires. I wanted to trade, He told me to invest. I wanted to sell the house, He told me to rent it. I wanted to stay hidden, He put me in the spotlight. Over and over I fought the Lord’s desires for me, but I’m learning to submit and obey despite how it looks or how I feel.
I recently realized that the only time I had been overwhelmingly successful, sustainably, is because I simply did what the Lord asked me. He directed me, and I obeyed for no other reason or motive than He is God, I am not. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart”. My plans contradicted His because my heart was not aligned with His, I wanted to grow my kingdom for my benefit, but His plans never fail and His ways overrule mine. When we commit our ways to the Lord and trust Him, He brings it to pass (Psa. 37:5), but this can be difficult for many reasons.
Kingdom success doesn’t always look like worldly success. I’ve suffered financial loss, hardship, and difficult times from pursuing God’s will above my own, just as I’ve suffered those things from pursuing my own agenda.
Christians across the world suffer persecution and hardship from pursuing God, and many have lost their lives. They suffer financial ruin, lose family, friends, and everything else in the pursuit of God. Many wouldn’t count this as success, but their heavenly rewards will far outweigh anything this world could have offered. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). We would be wise to remember that we do not pursue earthly gain and blessing, but eternal life and fellowship with the living God.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God…” (emphasis mine)