Who will prevail?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dear Friends: 

“Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

This are the words I hold to and live by when things don’t go as I have planned.  I lay my days out each morning; I set daily, weekly, monthly goals.  I prepare budgets and targets for where we need to be in enrollment, donations, etc.  But ultimately the question is, “What is God’s plan in all of this?”  “What is it that HE wants to happen?”

And so when my schemes and well intended preparations don’t bring the results I felt they should have produced, I must remind myself that it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails—not mine!  If I am working diligently for Him I can leave the final results to Him and know that He will win the battle.

My purpose on this present journey (I am in France for a few more days) might be “success” and to increase camper enrollment, et al, but His purpose might be far more profound and have reverberating consequences.   I cannot know what His precise purpose is on my trips or as I operate the camp, but I can choose to be at peace when He upsets my goals and agenda and uses me for other purposes.  The question is merely am I willing to be used anyway He requires?  It is a matter of humility as well as the sober recognition that His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I am clay—-He is the master potter.

In truth, He has consistently not only allowed my plans to go forward, but He has re-defined some of my earlier dreams and expanded them.  I thought, in my heart, that I was “called” to do this or that—-but He has purposed that I do far more! My own heart could not contain or perceive the good things He had prepared for me.  And as I look back on the former things I had planned on my own, how grateful I am that many did not come to fruition!  Praise God that He has His hand on the steering wheel and the gas pedal!

I don’t think that any of this means that I am to do nothing until I can see clearly His purpose.  If that were the case I might never accomplish anything!  But it does mean that I must be careful to remember the journey is more important than reaching the destination in God’s plans. It’s not a matter of achieving a goal, but rather what you did, who you blessed, what souls were drawn to Him, and what barriers were removed by the manner in which you did your work.

Each year I come to France I appreciate more and more the people, their families, their devotion, their passion and their kindness to me. I come here to enroll campers and find potential staff, but I find things that touch my heart and bless me in a way that merely succeeding  in “marketing” could not.  

If I look for Him in all of life’s challenges and my struggles I can be sure to find Him and feel His hand upon my shoulder. But if I dictate to Him what He must cause to happen and how it must occur, I will find that I am on a very lonely path indeed.


Dean Barley


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