Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

A TWO-STEP PLAN: How Hard Can It Be?

Does God laugh? Is He funny? Does He have a sense of humor? Ask Woody Allen and he’d say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.”

Your plans, my plans, we all have plans. I don’t know whether God laughs at them or not, but most of the time we take our plans pretty seriously. Plans are those steps you follow or things you do in order to meet a desired outcome. Funny thing is sometimes we follow plans exactly. Sometimes we don’t. And sometimes we struggle to figure out just what the plan is.

When my oldest son was two years old, we pulled into our driveway after running some errands. Since we had an automatic garage door opener but no remote, we had to go inside our house, through the living room, through the dining room to where the door to the garage was, and push the “doorbell” button to open the garage door.

Well on this particular day, instead of going inside with me as he always did, Caleb asked if he could stay outside while I went in to open the garage door. I was a little reluctant because I knew he’d be out of my sight briefly, but went ahead and agreed to it. I told him firmly to stand right by the garage door handle and not to stray off.

I went in through the living room, through the dining room to where the door to the garage was, and pushed the button to open the garage. I looked down at the bottom of the garage door, and as it began to open, I saw Caleb’s little feet standing right there where they were supposed to be. I had a proud momma moment briefly as I thought to myself, “Yes! My boy followed the plan!”

I expected him to trot right into the dining room momentarily, so I stayed inside and began sifting through the mail. That’s when I heard it. The frantic cry coming from the garage: “Help, momma! Momma, help me! Help! Help!”

I quickly peeked out into the garage to the space where his little feet were just seconds before but they weren’t there. No, his feet were now about 4-5’ up in the air dangling and swinging because not only did Caleb follow the plan, he followed it to a T. He stayed right next to the handle on the garage door as instructed—“right next to” as in “held tightly to.” YIKES! (Yes, God has a sense of humor!)

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, it’s recorded in Mark 3:13-14 that He climbed a mountain and invited those he wanted with him. They climbed together. He settled on twelve, and designated them apostles. The plan was that they would be with him, and he would send them out to proclaim the Word…”

What's the plan?Did you catch that? There’s a clear plan lodged right there in the text.

“The plan was that they would be with Him, and He would send them out…”

There’s not only a plan, but a definite order here as well. Be with Him first. Send them out second. So somewhere about 2000 years ago, God laid out a two-step plan for His followers. Easy, peasy, right?

I’m pretty sure Solomon was correct, however, when hundreds of years earlier he wrote, “…God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). And because we’ve made ourselves very complicated, we’ve made His plan complicated too. The plan was that they would be with Him, and He would send them out.

How hard is it to “be with Him”? How hard is it to spend time with Him each and every day? How hard is it to spend a few moments reading the Bible, to think about the greatness of God, to pause and thank Him for the good stuff, to ask Him for help, to hang out in His presence, to consider His ways and strive to honor them? How hard is it to follow the plan? It’s as hard as we choose it to be.  It’s as hard as we complicate it to be.

Jesus “invited those He wanted with Him.” Truth is He’s invited you and me as well. Truth is we are wanted. Truth is not only does He want us, He wants us with Him.

“And they climbed together.” Truth is He climbs each and every mountain together with us too.

The plan was—and still is—that they would be with Him, and He would send them out…

It’s simply a matter of following the plan!

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