The Challenge of Not Knowing God’s Plan

Knowing God's Plan, a post by Jennifer J. Camp

We bow our heads in prayer, the eight of us. We are women who’ve known each other for years now. And we’ll tell you we’ve been seeking God a lot longer.

We’ve spent weeks sharing with each other our stories. We’ve bent low, weary, as details from the past are said aloud for the first time. We want to see where He is now, so we look back to where He’s been.

It’s not easy.

Even in the looking back it can be hard to see God.

We want to know God’s plan.

We want to see Him. But our hearts . . . well . . . our hearts struggle going back. To the time when our parents split up and we felt we weren’t wanted. To the time when our dad got sick and we felt we needed to keep it all together. To the time when we made ourselves believe our choices, away from God, led to condemnation and punishment.

We can read about God, we can talk together about God, we can go to church and listen to worship songs and lift up our hands and not know Him one bit. Not at all. Because knowing God is not about knowing His plan. We complicate things with our desire to have everything figured out, especially the things that are futile to try to know, the things we are never designed to fully understand.

But we can’t help but ask Him anyway: God, what’s the plan? I hear you have a plan for me that will make all this heartache worth it–that will help me decide my next steps? Can I get a peek at it? Can you whisper to me what’s ahead?

Do you ever beg to know God’s plan for your life, and it feels like you get no answer?

Maybe we’re asking God the wrong question.

It is a false comfort we seek when we believe joy and peace come in having control over the unknowns in our lives. But still we ask, and we make plans ourselves when it feels like He doesn’t say a thing.

Not knowing God's plan and letting it go

It’s the same reason we fear slowing down and listening to God and trusting in His healing. It’s the same reason we want to take matters into our own hands and write our story ourselves, have control of the details.

God may have a plan for us, we say, but it feels vague, which makes us uncomfortable.

We soon give up on God, give up on listening, and plunge right into making up our own plans, by ourselves.

‘Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all’ (Luke 18:17).

I tell Justin, my husband, I want to be a person who thinks simply. I want to be fine with not knowing the details of what’s ahead–not knowing the intricacies of God’s plan for my life. If God bent close, his loving eyes looking at me and whispering soft, his hand stretched out, holding a map, saying, “Here you go, here is the plan for your life, here is where I hope you’re going, here is where I hope you’ll be in ten years, in fifteen, in twenty. . .” I think I would hyperventilate from the weight of the responsibility. I don’t want to know.

It’s too much for me to know all the details of God’s beautiful plans for me, as He looks at me in my fullness. It’s too much for this simple head of mine to try to carry around the weight of His plans.

For I would try to carry them.

God’s plans for us are too good for us to imagine and comprehend.

They are too glorious. . . and I wonder if we would surely twist their goodness and feel pressure to try to not disappoint Him if we knew more than what we are supposed to know. I wonder if we would strive to live up to the plans He has for us rather than rest in knowing He’s got our lives completely under control.

So, shall we try this? Shall we focus on our God rather than worry about all we don’t know? Shall we linger in His presence rather than talking about chasing Him down? Shall we praise Him for not telling us the details rather than worrying out the plans of our lives ourselves? Shall we rejoice that we get to live a life where it is simply about being with Him?

We may not know the  details of God’s good plans for us. But let’s not miss Him–the peace and love we experience when we focus most on being in his presence, right now.

‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:8-9).

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

And here is an excerpt from what He said in Loop, “Do You Wonder About the Plan”:

What if I told you the plan I have for you is not for you to worry about? What if I told you there is only a small part you can understand of all the things I know and the things I want you to know and the things you just don’t need to be concerned with?

Here is my plan: I have good for you. It is my desire that you know Me, that you love Me, that you follow Me, that you serve Me. It is my plan, it is my desire, that you want to be with Me, that you want to talk with Me, that you stay here, in this moment with Me, and concern yourself with knowing Me now, this moment, and not considering all the details about the future that I know and you don’t.

What do you want to know? What do you want to know that you think I am holding out on you?

Here is what you need to know: I love you, and I never forget you. Your life is my preoccupation. You are part of my plan for this world, which I love and which I desire to heal and bring to life and have know Me. I don’t want this world to miss out on what I’ve always had for it, as I hold out my hand . . . as I hold out my hand.

There is more to talk about on this topic for sure. But let’s pause here.

I just revisited these words from a year ago. I continue to meet with my friends each week. Together, we wrestle with God–talking about the same things  . . . and different things. I wonder if we are in a bit of a different place with God right now? Or, if we are different? Or if we perceive or know God differently?

I will search for words, as I struggle to figure this out. Meanwhile, I would love to what your wrestling match with God looks like right now. Do you struggle to know what God has for you? How comfortable are you in not knowing God’s plan?

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  • This made me pause and think,” It is a false comfort we seek when we believe joy and peace come in having control over the unknowns in our lives. ” Not only is it false, but fleeting. It does not have lasting essence; it won’t stay with us. Even in the hard moments, when His presence is near, the JOY is immeasurable. It hangs on, coating with comfort, filling the what if’s with,’ Yes, Lord’.
    Always a timely word, Jennifer.

    • Dawn, you’re so right. It doesn’t last. It isn’t real. I appreciate how your remind me it is God’s joy that is the real thing that we do experience, that is with us, that we can have–and that is the only comfort that is true and changes our lives. Thank you!

  • I know God loves me but I struggle with disappointing Him. Missing opportunities , being too absorbed in incidenceries. I want to be the one who sat at His feet and poured her costly perfume over Jesus. But I rarely am and it makes me sad.

    • Cindy, I pray now that this whisper you are hearing–that you have messed up and that you are disappointing God–is sent to the foot of the cross. Jesus, thank you for Cindy and how you are with her, how you love her, and how you beckon her to you with gentleness and mercy and kindness, not condemnation. I pray, let us turn over everything that stands in the way of us wanting You most. We want to surrender to you. We want to live this day, in your presence, knowing and living out the reality that we are fully yours. We lay down the lies that whisper we are not good enough . . . or you will love us more when . . .We are your daughters, and we sit her now, at your feet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • In my walk, I am. Some days just knowing that is all the comfort I need. The darkness from my past is like a distant fog. I can still see it but most all within it is obscured. Here and there tho there are bright flashes of Light, times when I’m certain that regardless of the distance I tried to put between us, God was right there with me. Enemy tho I was, He rescued me from my own intentions, time and time again. Now that I’ve come Home and walk with Him daily, I’m certain that His plans are better than any I could ever make. The old habits of control are still there but when I remember to listen, I hear Holy Spirit gently say, “Put it down Child and lift your hands for He will never leave you.”

    • These words, yes, are so beautiful . . .” Put it down child and lift your hands for He will never leave you.” Yes! It is amazing (so difficult for me to take in) that the Holy Spirit is with us constantly. Too good. But when we turn and recognize the knocking, the asking to come in, then we realize how of course, He is here! He is right here! Bless you, dear Sheri. It is so fun to connect with you here and also on Facebook:

  • Wow Jennifer. Your website has been a blessing to me this morning. I’ve been struggling with direction for my life and that closeness with my Father that I’ve been longing for. For the past few months it just seems to be a disconnect. The words on this site have tickled something in my heart. A cry out to Him. I don’t have to have it all together. I don’t have to try to do this on my own. He is in control! I thank God that I found you through the YouVersion bible app. Thank you for blessing me.

  • Hi I just feel that I am still making the same mistakes and I’m just tired of doing wrong. I ask God to show me the way so i won’t trip and fall again and again. I don’t know my purpose in life and what God sent me to do i. This life time. Don’t want to move left or right just procede to to the finish and god guiding me to his perfect and loving way to share with others his ever loving devotion yo us his children. God bless and thank you for listening to my msg.

  • I have to tell you, I truly appreciate your blogging, and your honest feelings. I recently started a site of my own, then I came across yours, and just as I’m about to publish or save a post for future publishing, I read your words which reflect my own. You’re an inspiration to me, that I can let my honesty flow. It’s a process and in the meantime, thank you for what you do.

    • Hi Jen,

      You are so kind. I love meeting you here! I just visited your beautiful site and am looking forward to reading. I see that you posted about friendship and the gift these women are to your heart. I pray God blesses you with His presence as you continue to write and trust him! Looking forward to connecting more!