Links Daily Devotional

Best-Laid Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

I can find no record that the poet Robert Burns was a golfer, and I doubt that he was. He only lived 37 years, was from a poor family, was a prolific writer (nearly 600 poems and lyrics) and father (at least 13 children, several of whom died in infancy). But golfers can relate to one of his most famous lines, which appears in this stanza of a poem titled, “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough”:

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

The middle lines might be rendered in modern English as, “The best-laid plans of mice and men Often go astray.” Is there a golfer alive who doesn’t agree?

I planned to hit a 5-iron over the water to the par-3, but the earth jumped up from behind my tee and slowed the club enough that the ball (and my score) found a watery grave…

My scheme was to hit a low punch shot under the mesquite tree to the par 5, but the last branch reached down and grabbed at my ball, not only leaving it short but also depositing a thorn in its cover. (I had to use needle-nose pliers and a razor to get it out.)…

And so it goes on the course, where I am the mouse and the wind and the earth and the trees and some teenager yelling “Fore!”from a passing car are the plow, ruining my plans.

But what of God’s plans for me? In the often quoted verse above, we claim the promise that God has plans for us for good. While the verse should be read in context, I believe that he does have wonderful plans for each of his children, and that those include hope and a future. So why do they “gang aft agley” (go often awry)? Because of me. I find that I am the wind and the earth and the trees. I am the distracting sound and the thorn in the cover of the ball. I’m not sure that I can thwart God’s plans for me completely, but I have proven to be adept at resisting them or at least disrupting them and sending them off course. How much better would it be if I would simply relax and let God’s plans for me unfold?

So the next time you find some outside agency foiling your plans on the golf course, resolve not to do the same thing to the plans God has for you in the course of life. Don’t let your own will, your own desires, be the plow that puts grief and pain in the place of promised joy.

Lewis Greer
October 1, 2014
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