Are you willing to follow God’s plans?

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | July 7, 2021

They say that “life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.”

In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jimmy Stewart plays a man named George Bailey. From the time he was a little boy, George had plans. He wanted to do great things, to travel to faraway places. But life gets in the way.

A childhood injury keeps him out of the military. His dreams of going to college fly out the window when his father’s unexpected death requires him to take over the family savings and loan. He even gives up his honeymoon trip to save his community when a run on the bank almost destroys the town.

Years later, George finds himself still running his father’s business, and even a loving wife and children don’t seem like enough. George had plans. Now he wishes he had never been born.

Then an angel (well, not quite an angel) named Clarence appears on the scene and gives George a rare gift. George sees what life would be like — for his mother, his wife, his friends and neighbors — if he had never been born. It seems that God did have plans for George — not George’s plans, but better!

“Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was no prophet … I was a shepherd … the Lord took me … and said to me, ‘Go … ’” Amos was very happy tending sheep and dressing sycamores. But God had plans for Amos … and Amos went.

“Life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans.”

God had plans for George Bailey. And God has plans for us, too. God “chose us … before the foundation of the world.”

Clarence showed George all the good that had come from George’s willingness to do what he knew was right, even when it meant giving up his own plans.

Are we as willing to give up our plans as George Bailey was? Or Amos? Or do we insist on having things our own way? Are we willing to go where God sends us, even when it takes us where we’d rather not go? Or do we prefer to just stay home and tend sheep?

Van Benthem is a longtime pastoral minister in the Diocese of Green Bay.

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