It is the end of the year, and I am looking back on the successes I have celebrated and the failures I have endured during this time. I remember starting the year with a certain plan and mindset, working out the particulars of how the year would go, establishing what I’d like to accomplish, and while some projects and goals came to fruition, others proved fruitless and a dead end. Despite the ideas that came together well, I can also remember certain projects that I had great hope and aspirations for, only to see them crashing spectacularly as the year developed. And this is not even mentioning those aspects of my year to which I could not foresee at all, opportunities that crossed my path that I didn’t plan for as they were beyond my possible vision. As the year begins for each of us, it is a time of renewal, a rebooting of our lives as we view the upcoming year optimistically, trying to make grandiose and life-changing plans, but while some succeed, many don’t, and others change in the process. Some plans we make, but God has different ideas. I often tell my students that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Had I been able to talk to my former self from a year ago, telling the old me how the year would pan out, I might have scoffed and blown my future self off, thinking I knew better. My point is that planning can seem futile in retrospect. We don’t know the future and can make all the plans in the world only to have God let us know that the plans we had for ourselves are not the plans He has for us. In 1 Chronicles 28.3-4, King David talks to the crowd to tell them what his plans were for the temple and how God changed those plans: “Listen to me, my fellow Israelites, my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.’” David had these tremendous plans, but God stepped in and told him to let go of those plans, making him pass them on to his son Solomon. We plan in one direction, but sometimes God throws us in another. He clearly knows what’s best for us, and desires us to be happy, so how are we then to make plans for our lives? With the New Year upon us, how can we possibly make a plan knowing that things change, we don’t always know God’s plans, and we can’t know the future? In Act V of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the main character is trying to figure out what course of action he should take in his life, and after much reflection and an acknowledgement of God’s will, he concludes that all things happen in their proper time, without our knowledge as to when they will happen, and that “the readiness is all.” We can plan all we want, and if those plans succeed, great. If they fail, oh well, learn and move forward. And if God tells us to let go of our plans, we should concede and move forward accordingly. The only thing we can do is be ready for Him. This year, instead of developing possibly impossible plans for your life, in its place, plan on being ready for Him and His plans. Amen.