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January 18, 2013

It’s Just Like the Plan

By James McConkey

Audio length: 9:45
Download Audio (8.9MB)

You remember the story of the engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. During its building he was injured. For many long months he was shut up in his room. His gifted wife shared his toils and carried his plans to the workmen. At last the great bridge was completed. Then the invalid architect asked to see it. They put him upon a cot and carried him to the bridge. They placed him where he could see the magnificent structure in all its beauty. There he lay, in his helplessness, intently scanning the work of his genius. He marked the great cables, the massive piers, the mighty anchorages which fettered it to the earth. His critical eye ran over every beam, every girder, every chord, every rod. He noted every detail carried out precisely as he had dreamed it in his dreams and wrought it out in his plans and specifications. Then as the joy of achievement filled his soul, as he saw and realized that it was finished exactly as he had designed it, in an ecstasy of delight he cried out, “It’s just like the plan! It’s just like the plan!”

Some day we shall stand in the glory and, looking up into His face, cry out, “O God, I thank Thee that Thou didst turn me aside from my willful and perverse way to Thy loving and perfect one. I thank Thee that Thou didst ever lead me to yield my life to Thee. I thank Thee that as I day by day walked the simple pathway of service, Thou didst let me gather up one by one the golden threads of Thy great purpose for my life. I thank Thee, as, like a tiny trail creeping its way up some great mountainside, that pathway of life has gone on in darkness and light, storm and shadow, weakness and tears, failures and falterings, Thou hast at last brought me to its destined end. And now that I see my finished life, no longer ‘through a glass darkly’ but in the face-to-face splendor of Thine own glory, I thank Thee, O God, I thank Thee that it’s just like the plan; it’s just like the plan.”

Then, too, while we do need to walk carefully and earnestly that we miss not God’s great will for us, yet let us not be anxious lest, because we are so human, so frail, so fallible, we may make some mistakes in the details and specifications of that plan. We will do well to remember this. God has a beautiful way of overruling mistakes when the heart is right with Him. That is the supreme essential. The one attitude of ours which can mar His purpose of love for our lives is the refusal to yield that life and will to His own great will of love for it. But when that life is honestly yielded, then the mistakes in the pathway which spring from our own human infirmities and fallibleness will be sweetly and blessedly corrected by God, as we move along that path. It is like guiding a ship. Our trembling hand upon the wheel may cause trifling wanderings from her course. But they seem greater to us than they are in reality. And if we but hold our craft steadily to the polestar of God’s will as best we know it, she will reach her destined port with certainty, notwithstanding the swervings that have befallen her in the progress of her voyage.

But now we come face to face with a question of supreme importance, and that is this: “How shall I ascertain God’s plan for my life? How shall I be safeguarded from error? How shall I discern the guidance of God from the misguidance of my own fleshly desires and ambitions? How shall I find the path in which He is calling me to walk?” We answer first: Believe!

The trouble with most of us is that we do not believe God has such a life plan for us. We take our own way; we lay our own plans; we choose our own profession; we decide upon our own business without taking God into account at all. According to our faith is it unto us. And if we have no faith in God’s Word in this regard, what else can we expect but to miss God’s way for our lives, and only come back to it after long and costly wanderings from His blessed, chosen pathway for us? Ephesians 2:10 (For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them) is as surely inspired as Ephesians 2:8 (For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it isthe gift of God). The promise of a life plan is as explicit in the one as the promise of salvation is in the other. Brood over this Ephesians verse. Is it plain? Is it God’s Word? Does it not say clearly that God has a life plan for you in Christ Jesus? Then settle down upon it. Believe it with your whole soul. Do not be shaken from it.


Dr. Henry Foster, founder of the Clifton Springs sanitarium, was a man of marvelous power with God. A man, too, of great insight into the mind and ways of God in the matter of guidance in the affairs of life. What was the secret of that wondrous power and wisdom? Visitors were wont to ask this question of one of the older physicians on the staff of that great institution. And this was his response. He took the visitor by the arm. He led him upstairs to the door of Dr. Foster’s office. He led him into this little chamber, across to the corner of the room. There, kneeling, he lifted up the border of a rug and showed to the visitor two ragged holes in the carpet, worn by the knees of God’s saint in his life of prayer. “That, sir, was the secret of Henry Foster’s power and wisdom in the things of God and men.”

Friend, when your bedroom carpet begins to wear out after that fashion, the man who lives in that room need not have any fear about missing God’s life plan. For that is the open secret of wisdom and guidance in the life of every man who knows anything about walking with God. Does any man lack wisdom? “Let him ask of God.”1 Are you one of the men who lack wisdom concerning God’s plan for their lives? Then ask of God. Pray! Pray trustfully, pray steadily, pray expectantly, and God will certainly guide you into that blessed place where you will be as sure you are in His chosen pathway as you are of your salvation.

Do not launch out upon the sea of life headed for a port of your own choosing, guided by a chart of your own drafting, driven by the power of your own selfish pleasures or ambitions. Come to God. Yield your life to Him by one act of trustful, irrevocable surrender. And then begin to choose to do His will for your life instead of your own. So shall you come steadily to know and see God’s will for that life. Our Lord Jesus clearly said this: “If any man will do my will, he shall know.”2 Without a shadow of doubt, we will begin to know God’s will as soon as we begin to choose His will for our lives instead of our own.

Thus the spiritual field-glasses through which we come to see God’s will for our lives are double-barreled. Side by side are two lenses. The one—“I trust.” The other—“I will.” When a man can hold both of these to his eyes, he will see God’s will with unclouded clearness.

Listen. Begin to believe in God’s plan for your life. For no man can see the will of God save through these two crystal lenses—the trustful heart and the yielded will.

Originally published in Life Talks: A Series of Bible Talks on the Christian Life, 1911. Published on Anchor January 2013. Read by Simon Peterson.

1 James 1:5.

2 John 7:17.