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Want to Make God Laugh?...Tell Him Your Plans for Your Life

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

As a new Christian I was full of joy, hope and excitement, having only recently discovered that Almighty God was on my side in life. The more I read the Bible the more I discovered wonderful and magnificent promises. Nothing could block me now from gaining my hopes: the right education, the right girlfriend, the right career, advancement, honor, respect. But along the way I hit some landmines: mediocre performances, disappointments, failures, perplexity. What happened? Romans 8 happened. God began working out His plan for my life – and it was not what I was looking for:

Romans 8: 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son….

Step 1. v26. We look at life and have no idea How to pray or What to pray for (both translations are accurate). We think we know what will make us happy, but our wisdom is called “weakness”.

Step 2. v26. No worries. The (Holy) Spirit helps us by praying for us. He does know How and What to pray for us, and he does so with sincere, intense pleading before the Father, too deep for words. He is really on our side.

Step 3. v27. The Father (who searches the hearts) listens to and understands What and How the Spirit is praying for us—because unlike our prayers for ourselves, the Holy Spirit prays the right stuff.

Step 3. v28. God’s Answer to the Holy Spirit’s prayers: God causes All Things to work together for our good: All Things (all circumstances this week, all grades—A’s and D’s, all mediocre performances, all embarrassments, all advancements) All Things work together for our good.

Step 4. v29. But here’s the problem, and this is what unseats so many Christians: God defines good as “conforming us to the image of His Son”. That’s God’s definition of good. It is not ours. And that’s why we are forever praying for the trivial, weak, foolish things: success, respect, accomplishment, our plans for our lives. The Holy Spirit and the Father know that true happiness comes only from becoming like Jesus—in his attitudes, his choices, his reactions, his view of God’s Kingdom. And so, the Father answers the Holy Spirit’s prayers for us by seeing that everything that comes into our life works on our character and serves that one great purpose. That’s not what I was expecting; that’s not how I define good.


1. Read the passage above again, and tell God you want to cooperate with Him this week, as He reshapes everything that comes into your life. Tell Him you want to become like Jesus. That’s what He’ll be doing anyway. You might as well understand and cooperate with Him. “What response are You looking for, from me this week, O God?” “How are You trying to make me more like Jesus, this week?”


[1] Paul doesn’t say for “everyone’s” good, but for “us believers”, described here as those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. The 2 phrases are in apposition and describe every believer in this chapter.

John and Jeanie live in Durham, NC and work at Duke University with all 3 ROTC commands and “civilian” Duke students. Jeanie is always involved in friendship evangelism, prayer ministry, and childraising. John is available for fundraising coaching, teaching and Bible study skills.

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