Predictions for 2019…
“Man plans… God laughs.”
Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase before. It’s taken from an old Yiddish proverb. The more literary version is from Robert Burns: “The best laid plans of mice and men, oft go astray.” And the most Biblical version would be from Psalm 33:10 “The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.”
Regardless of the origin or your favorite version, when I read “Man plans; God laughs”, I can’t help but smile a rather sheepish smile. Because it is so true. We carefully plan, but one unforeseen change can make all those plans irrelevant.
Why reflect on this now?
Think: could any of us have predicted all that took place in 2018? All that took place in your personal life? Or in our nation? Or world?
Of course not. Yet, at this time of year, the magazines and newspapers are full of predictions for 2019: most of which will be inaccurate or flat-out wrong. We simply don’t know what’s going to happen in the future in any part of our lives.
Except in one place: here at church. We can say with certainty what will happen: God’s word of love and truth will be preached and taught to young and not-so-young. God’s sacraments of grace and life will be administered through baptism and absolution and communion. God’s family on earth in this place will celebrate the birth of new life in new members and will grieve the earthly death of other members, while clinging to the hope that is found in Christ’s eternal life for all who believe.
Satan and the sinful world and our sinful flesh will attack us through temptation to sin and doubt and despair, and sometimes we will fall to those temptations. But we will repent and receive forgiveness and rededicate our efforts to overcoming it. There will be unexpected challenges and unexpected delights, but we will be here to weep together at times of mourning and to rejoicing together at times of joy.
In worship on our very first Sunday in 2019, we read from Ephesians 3: “[We] bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord…”
God has known the plan from the beginning. We, as His church, know the plan, too. We are part of it. Names and dates might be uncertain, but the overall plot is not. God is redeeming us. And redeeming this world through His redeemed children.
“Man plans… God laughs.” There’s truth to this folk wisdom.
But there is even more truth in another proverb (which has also been quoted so many times that we don’t know who said it first): “We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”
The specific events of 2019 may surprise us, but they will not surprise God. And what should never surprise us is God’s unending, faithful, loving work: for us and in us and through us.
Looking forward with you to all that God has promised for 2019,
Pastor Rob Morris
About Our Pastor Rob Morris:
Pastor Rob Morris is celebrating his eighth year of serving at Christ the King Lutheran Church. He was ordained into the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod after a colloquy process that involved one semester of classwork at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana and a supervised vicarage here at Christ the King. His previous training included both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Biblical Languages from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in S. Hamilton, MA, where he also served as a Teacher’s Assistant leading classwork for both the Greek and Hebrew departments.
Before his call to Christ the King, Pastor Morris served as a full-time staff member at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Topsfield, MA, focusing on both the youth and worship ministries. Going even further back, Pastor Rob’s background was in software sales and his undergraduate work was in business and organizational behavior.
Pastor Morris is joyfully married to his high school sweetheart, Christy, and July 2019 marks their 17th wedding anniversary. They have been entrusted with two wonderful boys: Elijah, 13, and Isaiah, 10. As a family, they love to hike, bike, kayak, explore, read, and play music together.
In his free time, Pastor Morris loves reading, playing music on a growing number of instruments, biking, camping, woodworking, and working on old trucks – currently an old Ford and an even older Studebaker.