What to Do When Your Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

Life almost never goes the way you planned. You make plans. Stuff happens. The plans change. Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. I don’t know who Murphy was, but he was a pretty smart dude. Jesus was no different. How did Jesus react when life threw him a curve ball?



Five Things Jesus Did When Everything Went Wrong

Jesus lived the most amazing life ever lived. He taught, healed, experienced true miracles, loved his friends, loved God with a fierce love, and lived with a radical purpose. He attacked life with strength, power, and confidence. And when obstacles appeared, he dealt with them. What can we learn from Jesus?

1. He didn’t let obstacles keep him from making plans.

Jesus had plenty of people who were against him. The Pharisees were his most famous antagonists. The Pharisee party was the largest and most powerful religious/political force in Jesus’ world. But, he also had the Herodians, Scribes (Teachers of the Law), Sadducees, and High Priestly family working against him — not to mention, the House of Herod and the power of Pontius Pilate.


Yet, Jesus still had his plans. He knew his mission. He understood the work he came to do. He made a plan and worked the plan. He had to tweak the plan as obstacles came at him. The plans changed a little – but the mission never changed.


Jesus didn’t let obstacles keep him from making plans.


2. He expressed himself openly.

Jesus got frustrated. Even though he knew how things were going to end, he still expressed pain and frustration with how things were going at the moment.


For instance, when his friend Lazarus died, Jesus wept. Even though he knew he was going to raise Lazarus back to life, he still wept over his death (John 11:35)


And when the Pharisees attacked Jesus – trying to trap him – Jesus expressed his anger and frustration with them (Matt. 23:13).


Just because we know that God is always going to win in the end, doesn’t mean that we don’t feel pain and frustration on the journey to that end. It’s okay to feel it. It’s healthy to express it.


Are things not going the way you planned? Do you feel like crying in frustration? Go ahead. Have a good cry. Jesus did.


3. He met God in the struggle.

Jesus saw obstacles as an opportunity to hear from God. He understood that it was in the valleys of life that God became even more present.


Jesus experienced his greatest challenge in the face of crucifixion. He ran to the Garden of Gethsemane and begged God to find another way. He didn’t get the answer he wanted, but he found the peace he needed to face the horror of the cross (Matt. 26:46).


Jesus could overcome any obstacle (even death) because he saw every obstacle as an opportunity to come face-to-face with God.


4. He trusted even when he didn’t like it.

There were things about the plan that Jesus didn’t like.


He didn’t like the Pharisees, but he was going to die for them too. He even asked God to forgive them from the cross (Luke 23:34).


He didn’t like sickness and death and poverty, but he understood them as a part of life (Matt. 26:11).


He didn’t like that he was going to die on the cross, but he said to his Father, “Not my will, but they will be done” (Matt. 26:42).


On the night before his death, knowing that the next day as he hung on the cross, his disciples would face the most devastating “change of plans” of their lives, Jesus gave them the secret to enduring even when your plans seem to go all wrong – he told them:


Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust in me also. “There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me. Then you will also be where I am. “You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:2-4).


Here are the secrets he revealed to them:

  • Don’t get overwhelmed when things go wrong (breath!)
  • Trust God and Jesus (let go)
  • Jesus is preparing everything for you (this too shall pass).
  • Jesus will always be with you (especially when things go wrong).
  • You know how to do this (trust your instincts).


5. He surrounded himself with support.

Jesus didn’t try to do it alone.


When he wanted to make a difference in the world, he said to his disciples, follow me and we will change the world (Mark 1:17).


When everyone was leaving him, he asked his disciples, are you going to leave me too? (John 6:67)


When he faced the cross, he told his disciples, pray for me and watch my back (Mark 14:34).


Jesus knew that he didn’t have to do it alone. He knew that if he was going to save the world he would need to build a community.


Jesus didn’t do it alone … and neither should you.


A Future Too Wonderful for You to Know

When the people of God faced a life of slavery and exile to a foreign power, God said this to them:


‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jer. 29:11).


When facing the complete destruction of all your best-laid plans, remember the words of Job who lost everything, and with all his plans destroyed, said this to God:


I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know” (Job 42:2-3).







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