Our Plans, God’s Plans

In life, and on mission trips, maybe especially on mission trips, things don’t always turn out as we’ve planned! For example, last night we were trying to get down to Brooklyn to the mid-week service at the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle. We had to change subway lines part-way there. We got off the first train just fine (not a small feat with a group of 28), then quickly jumped on a train across the ramp that had the right letter on it (R), but once we took off, David Tepper noticed that we were going in the wrong direction! It took us back where we started. Time for a do-over! So the SECOND time we made the line switch, we took our time and made sure we were on the right ramp for the right train going in the right direction! Fortunately, we made it to the church with time to spare and had a wonderful experience worshiping and praying with hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ from Brooklyn, NY.


Earlier in the week, something similar happened. We were given two 5-gallon buckets of paint to use on the walls of the third floor bedrooms where the men sleep. Like well-trained painters, we began using the bucket that had already been opened first. It still had four gallons in it. By late afternoon, we poured out the last of that bucket into our pans and opened the second bucket. We were more than surprised when we discovered that the color and texture of the paint was very different from the first. Upon further investigation, consultation with the Betel staff, and digging around in the basement, we discovered that we had been using some leftover flat white ceiling paint and should have been using an open bucket of satin enamel paint tinted a nice beige color! We lamented together for a few minutes, then cleaned out our pans, rollers and brushes and looked forward to another day. All was not lost though. Three of our students learned to paint either for the first time or learned to paint a little better that day. Second, we had applied a primer coat on some walls that were previously blue that will be easier to cover with beige on the second coat. Third, Alexis Wallin, one of our excellent paint crew that day (along with Gabe Wallin, Tommy Cambron), observed upon reflection that some of our other technique could be improved. She suggested that instead of working in several rooms at a time, that it might be better to all work together in the same room, get that knocked out, then move on to the next room. And she was right! The next day, we did just as she suggested (with a completely different crew) and it worked much better. And this time, we checked and double checked to make sure we were using the right paint!!! The rooms look great. Thank you Lord, for your grace when we fail and for helping us to learn from our mistakes!

God’s Sovereign Plans

God empowers evil people for a time, but only to accomplish His purposes. Then He takes away their power. For example, when Assyria’s king threatened to invade Jerusalem, Isaiah reassured King Hezekiah with these words.

“And the LORD has spoken this word against him: “The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem shakes her head in derision as you flee. “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have defied the Lord. You have said, ‘With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains– yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its finest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest corners and explored its deepest forests…

“But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen. I planned for you to crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. That is why their people have so little power and are so frightened and confused. They are as weak as grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, scorched before it can grow lush and tall. “But I know you well– where you stay and when you come and go. I know the way you have raged against me. And because of your raging against me and your arrogance, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth. I will make you return by the same road on which you came.” (2Ki 19:21-28 NLT)