The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9, ESV)
Our plans and God’s steps. The order of these words is important for gaining a firm footing in our walk through life. In our hearts, in our minds, and in our desires, we make many plans. We try to figure out the future. However, God is the one who establishes each step. So he ultimately guides where our plans go— he has the last word.
Let’s understand the word “plans.” To plan is to devise, invent, consider, design or to think something out. In our hearts we devise plans or project a future for our life. Throughout Proverbs it’s clear that we are to submit to God’s rule and receive his wisdom for our plans. God’s role is making our steps firm. Therefore, as you plot and plan, watch that your projections are in line with God’s wisdom. Follow his timing and leading. As you do so, many promises in Proverbs will be for you, like this one:
When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:12 (ESV)
One more verse that I think will encourage you:
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30–31 (ESV)
Sometimes we reverse the order of Proverbs 16:9 to say that God makes the plans and then we choose our steps. For instance, we might say, “God plans for me to reconcile with this person, and I will do it my way.” No! Instead, “submit to him in all your ways” (Prov. 3:6) and you will gain his heart for reconciliation. Tell God you want him to establish your steps; wait on the Lord and he will help you.
Lord, in my heart I’m planning to reconcile with my friend. But I know that this will only succeed in your timing and in your way. Please establish my steps toward reconciliation. Give me the patience to wait for your leading. . . Continue praying.