Are you kidding me? I was already late. But the road sign ahead instructed me to adjust my expectations: “Expect Delays,” it announced. Traffic was slowing down.
I had to laugh: I expect things to work on my ideal timeline; I don’t expect road construction.
On a spiritual level, few of us plan for crises that slow us down or reroute our lives. Yet, if I think about it, I can recall many times when circumstances redirected me—in big ways and small. Delays happen.
Solomon never saw a sign that said, “Expect Delays.” But in Proverbs 16, he does contrast our plans with God’s providential guidance. The Message paraphrases verse 1 as follows: “Mortals make elaborate plans, but
How do I lose track of this spiritual truth? I make my plans, sometimes forgetting to ask Him what His plans are. I get frustrated when interruptions interfere.
But in place of that worrying, we could, as Solomon teaches, grow in simply trusting that God guides us, step-by-step, as we prayerfully seek Him, await His leading, and—yes—allow Him to continually redirect us.
How do you typically face unexpected delays and detours? When frustrations come, what will help you lean into God and trust Him more?
The proverbs are not step-by-step instructions on what to do in each and every moment. Rather, they give us general principles for wise living. They show us how to interact with our fellow human beings and how to keep from being foolish—or how to stop being foolish. When we practice the wisdom of the proverbs, we’re far less likely to rush into ill-conceived plans. We learn to leverage the resources God has already given us. In the process we grow, and we spare ourselves untold disaster. The proverbs don’t tell us what plans to make; they teach us to make wise plans and commit them to the Lord (Proverbs 16:3).