When Things Don’t Go Quite According to Plans (A Pastor’s Confession)

The planning for the service on Sunday was complete. I had worked on the message and was excited about preaching it. The music team had practiced and ready to sing. All the behind-the-scenes details were taken care of. Then came Sunday morning, and the service did not go quite as planned.

I’ll admit that I became frustrated. With every little glitch that occurred, I got even more frustrated. I know pastors are supposed to take everything in stride, smile, and say “Well, praise the Lord!” but what wasn’t how I felt. The flow of the service we imagined didn’t materialize. 

Funny thing was, very few people knew that the service was not flowing. People sang and prayed and shared the Lord’s Supper. When all was said and done, people had come forward to unite with the church and others came forward to kneel and pray.

Even with all that, I was still frustrated. I was already thinking about what we could do to avoid the same issues in the future. It was later in the afternoon that I was reminded of Proverbs 29:21, ”Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)

Even when my plans don’t going according to my expectations, God is still at work. He has things He had plans to do that no one or nothing can thwart. Though He deserves our excellence, He knows we are far from perfect, “frail creatures of dust” as the hymn puts it. God reminded me that afternoon, “Jimmy, I’ve got this,” and even though I still want to tweak things so that miscommunication doesn’t occur again (after all, God deserves our best), I rejoice in my God whose perfect will trumps my imperfect performance.

One of the reasons that people give for not sharing their faith is that they fear they’ll mess it up. They feel they may not know the right words or that they can’t answer all the person questions or quote the perfect Scripture. I have often told people with this concern that God can use our imperfect performance and bring about Kingdom results. It’s good advice that I also need to accept.

So, my fellow creatures of dust, let us admit to our imperfections and limitations. And though we strive to improve in our areas of weakness, let us not use our flaws and failings as an excuse to be less than faithful in our calling. Whatever the Lord calls you to, He equips you for. Let us remember as we pray and plan our work, that God also has a plan. He may accomplish His, even if yours falls flat.

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