But many of us have our own Plan A. These are our first dreams for our lives before we really get going. But to be honest, they don’t last that long. Life happens. Often troubling things, or just unexpected things. Sometimes these are things that cause us to lose sleep. Our road is not as straight as we may have imagined, nor our hands as clean.
So we move to Plan B. Perhaps we’re downcast by that for a while; but we get used to it—maybe we even adjust well and learn to enjoy it. “You play the hand you’re given,” we say. Then we wonder, ‘Well, maybe this was God’s Plan A for me after all.’ Perhaps he was teaching me something through it.
Maybe. And probably.
But just to be totally confusing, let me suggest something else. God has a Plan A for you. And you have a Plan A for you. But they’re not the same. You try to follow your own Plan A. But that doesn’t work out. So you move to Plan B out of necessity. You start to wonder if your Plan B was God’s Plan A for you all along. But there’s more.
What if God’s Plan A for you is really Plan C? Huh? Wait a second. What’s Plan C?
Plan C is the Cross. It’s the Easter Plan. (It’s actually God’s Plan A for you, but since we all thought we abandoned Plan A when our first (and often naïve) plans for our life didn’t work out, let’s just call it Plan C.) Plan C has three important details:
God is all-powerful and unavoidable. If we try to go it alone, we’re denying the greatest power on earth and thwarting the healing presence he can channel through our lives. Stuck freezing in the wilderness refusing to plug-in to the only Generator there is. This God is the One who raises people from the grave. Big. Way Big.
This same God of power loves us so much that despite the many plans we’ve made that don’t include him, he takes those sins and places them on his Son on the cross. He punishes them there. He uses his hurricane-size muscle to uproot hell and clear a pathway through the valley of the shadow of death to bring us into his beloved embrace. For eternity. There are no limits. He’d rip a tear in the sky to get to you.
A life lived in the shimming shadow of the Cross opens up a world of possibility we could never have imagined before. Turns out, Plan C is The Plan. That’s where the deeper love is; where the joy fountain is; where the new horizon of hope is; where the real meaning of life is. It’s the exact inch where the four corners of the world—love, joy, hope and meaning—meet. Yes it can be hard. But as someone once said, there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going. And usually the hard things are the things that matter.
The cross is where the ground meets the sky. It’s where the new you is.
But so often we miss the opportunity. A few months back I saw a huge billboard along the 11 highway. Thousands and thousands of people pass it every day. What a huge opportunity to get a message out! So what did it say? It said: “Need Slippers?” Really? How many people blazing by on a busy highway are in such desperate need of slippers that they’ll pull off for that store (which sells 1000 things of greater interest) because their need for slippers is so great? In my view, they missed the opportunity.
We’ve all missed opportunities to get plugged-in to God’s greater Plan for our lives. But Easter is God’s annual invitation to get back on the right highway. To plug in. To forget your own original Plan A, and Plan B for that matter, and hook-up with Plan C: A life lived knowing that God is all-powerful; that he loves you unconditionally and with a tenacity, tenderness and clout that only he could engineer; that the way of the cross is a path of love, joy, hope and meaning that you can’t find anywhere else.
Maybe you’re on the right track. That’s magnificent. But maybe you’ve been dialing it in. Maybe your heart isn’t in it. Maybe you’re still hoping your original Plan A (which maybe now seems like a puddle beside an ocean) will work out. Wherever you’re at, know this: God has a plan for your life. This God is big, and dreams big. His love isn’t poured neatly into a jar on the shelf; it’s flooding the earth. Right now his Spirit is crafting astounding brushstrokes of love throughout our world; his paintbrush is a cross and he’s waiting for you to either re-affirm your passion for his artistry, to truly sign on for the first time, or to deepen the selection of his colours in your soul.
Some times are holy. Not because they are a date on a calendar, but because God uses them to get our attention. Hey there! God is big! He raises bodies from the dead! In a world that promotes and settles for greyness, he invites us to live in technicolour. In resurrection. That’s more than just spring flowers and a feeling of renewal: That’s new life where there was only death before.
Plan C. It’s the real Plan A. How might it change your life again for the first time?
(This is taken from my annual Easter letter to Westminster.)
The image above is by Metoc (Selfmade with Maya and Mental Ray)