"Please stay," the man pleaded.
Paul shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't."
Another man turned his piercing blue eyes onto him. "What are you going to do then? What are your plans since you insist on leaving us?"
Judging by their expressions, Paul didn't think they were going to like the truth. "Whatever God wills."
They all spoke at once. "What?" Some of the Jews sounded quite angry, angry that Paul would leave without a commitment already in place. Others were confused. They wanted him to stay and teach them. Together their roar demanded an answer.
"I go where the Lord wants me to go, when He wants me to go. Sometimes I don't know what He wants me to do, but I trust in His plans for me." Paul met the gaze of each person in the room, sharing in their sorrow, their conviction, their hope. "I will return to you if God wills."
"And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. But on taking leave of them he said, 'I will return to you if God wills,' and he set sail from Ephesus."
I liked Paul's response to the uncertainty of the future. He didn't try to plan. He just put it in God's hands. "I will return to you if God wills."
If God wills.
Sometimes the uncertainty we face in this life is overwhelming. Gut-wrenching. Confusing. Sometimes it is all we can do to stay afloat in this sea of uncertainty. We try to plan our steps as best we can, only to have our carefully laid plans be destroyed.
I'm a planner. When my plans are derailed, I despise it with every fiber of my being. But I'm not The Planner. God makes plans for me.
"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
So now, my plan is to stop planning. If God wills, then my plans may be apart of His plans. If not, I know the plans He has in store will be even better. I plan to go with His plans.
V. Joy Palmer.