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When You Have to Regroup

Sarah had a plan. Then she convinced her husband, Abraham, to participate. Even though it succeeded, it made her miserable. And created a mess for everyone else involved.

Jacob had a plan—to work seven years to be able to marry the lovely Rachel. But his future father-in-law Laban had other plans and ended up swindling a total fourteen years out of Jacob.

The officials in Darius’s court hatched a plan—an evil plan of persecution against a servant of God. Daniel kept praying to God, same as always, and the officials’ plans ended with Daniel walking out of the lions’ den unharmed.

The plans people make can be good plans, selfish plans, conflicting plans, plans that harm others. Plans, however, don’t equal certainty—even the best of them. And the best planned plans don’t always go as planned. They fail. Some plans never get off the ground. Others simply get interrupted. Or go drastically awry.

You know what I mean. Maybe you had plans to launch a business, but you were struck with an unexpected illness. Our church planned a church plant. We observed a period of prayer and fasting, seeking the Lord’s will. We hired consultants, seeking godly counsel. We meticulously planned a capital campaign, selected a committee, and formed a sound strategic plan. It kicked off with great zeal. The committee searched tirelessly for the right property—only to lose the bid. We had to regroup. Begin again.


“We had to regroup. Begin again.”


There were times when even God’s appointed kings had to regroup (indicating that none of us are immune). King David comes to mind.

“David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it.” (2 Samuel 6:1-4, NIV)

King David had plans, and they seemed good. He planned to bring the ark of the covenant back to the new capital, Jerusalem. It failed miserably—even resulting in a fatality. This angered David. He had to regroup. When he did, he discovered he hadn’t followed God’s plans.

God had handed down clear instructions on how to handle the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:14). Which means David either failed to do due diligence in consulting those instructions, or he misunderstood them. (Or possibly ignored them altogether.)


“David either failed to do due diligence in consulting those instructions, or he misunderstood them.”


David made a new plan. And made another attempt, this time according to God’s instructions on how to carry the ark.

“They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty.” (2 Samuel 6:17-18, NIV)

But it wasn’t the last time David had to regroup after a seemingly good plan didn’t work.

David had the desire to build a temple for God (2 Samuel 7:1). Wisely, he consulted God’s prophet, Nathan (2 Samuel 7:2). Nathan told him, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it” (2 Samuel 7:3a, NIV). Unfortunately, Nathan’s nod was a hasty “yes.” However, the Lord stepped in to prevent another failed plan, telling Nathan that there would be a temple, but David wouldn’t be the one to build it.


“The Lord stepped in to prevent another failed plan, telling Nathan that there would be a temple, but David wouldn’t be the one to build it.”


Whenever we read similar experiences grouped together in the Bible, it should get our attention. They are usually recorded that way for emphasis. In both instances, we see a lesson learned from failed plans. This second failed plan opened the door for God to reveal His plans through Nathan (2 Samuel 7:5-11). It was to be through David’s son Solomon that the temple would be built.

It was this same son of David, King Solomon, who penned, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21, NIV).

So, what is it you’re planning? Have you prayerfully consulted the Lord? Have you determined to commit those plans to Him? If so, move forward in full confidence and conviction. Should a setback occur, consider in advance how you might respond. Here are three suggestions for how to respond when there’s a setback:

Regroup

This is an ideal time to reassess and analyze what happened. Consider the cause of the setback and evaluate whether a new plan is needed. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. Is something more required that you weren’t prepared for the first time? Are you flexible? Are you teachable? Earnestly pray for God’s leading and equipping—and His will to be done.

Reset

Spend time with the Lord, asking Him to bring about a refreshing in mind, body, and spirit. Do you need to restock supplies or resources? Do additional research? (Don’t forget to check your expectations and make sure they are healthy.)


“Spend time with the Lord, asking Him to bring about a refreshing in mind, body, and spirit.”


Retry

Recharged and ready, recommit your way and your plans to the Lord and try again in His strength.

Anything worth doing for God’s kingdom, with pure motives, is worth trying again. And again. Don’t let disappointment or discouragement win the day. Just remember, we don’t always get it right the first time. Each attempt is another opportunity to gain insight and understanding.

We often acquire understanding in these times. It comes slowly . . . gradually . . . bit-by-bit. We live. We learn. We grow—in plans, in business, in life, in discipleship, and in faith. To regroup is to experience the blessing of humbly bowing before the One whose plans never fail.


For more from Debbra, visit debbrastephens.com.

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