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April 4, 1991

The Best-Laid Plans

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In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps…. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. PROVERBS 16:9, 33
Preparation is a crucial element of any successful business endeavor. Whether we’re getting ready for a big presentation to a potential client, a major renovation of our office space, a meeting with a key investor, or the final phase of an important project, we do our best to cross every “t” and dot every “i”.
We put together the most highly qualified team. We do the research. We lay the groundwork. We even commit the project or meeting to the Lord and ask Him to grant us success.
We do everything we know to do. But sometimes, things don’t turn out quite like we hoped or expected. The potential client chooses another company to represent her. The office renovation takes five months longer than scheduled. The investor pulls his funding. The final phase of the project turns into a logistical nightmare.
As the saying goes, even the best-laid plans go awry. But as frustrating, even as devastating, as this might be, it shouldn’t surprise us. It’s certainly not a new phenomenon. The writer of Proverbs was well aware that life often seems like a game of chance. As the New Living Translation so eloquently puts Proverbs 16:33, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”
This thought can be very unsettling, especially for those of us who like to be in control of our lives down to the very last detail. But it also can be a source of great comfort to know that what we sometimes mistake for chance is actually divine orchestration. God knows the outcome long before we do. He sees the big picture. He’s in control. So when things don’t go our way, even after days, months, or even years of preparation, we can rest in the knowledge that God is still at work.
Such rest isn’t easy, of course. It takes faith. It takes trust. It requires us to loosen our grip on the steering wheel. But in the end, it makes it much easier to accept the outcome, whatever it may be.

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