THE DANGERS OF SELF-CHOSEN PLANS
Archbishop François Fénelon (1651-1725) was disappointed by some of the selfishness he saw among his congregation. So, he had a message for them. You have wasted your heart’s desires by so eagerly insisting on fulfilling your wishes regardless of God’s will. This is the cause of all your disappointment and grief. You have spent a great deal of time making plans that were mere cobwebs, and a breath of wind has blown them away, you withdrew gradually from God, and He has withdrawn from you. You must return to Him and give yourself unreservedly to Him. There is no other way to regain your peace of mind.
Let go of all your plans. God will do as He pleases with them. Even if you were to succeed through earthly means, God would not bless them. But if you offer them entirely to Him, He will turn everything to fit His merciful purposes, whether He does what you wish or not.
The important thing is to practice prayer and communion with God, whatever dryness, distraction, or weariness you may find in it. You deserve to be rejected by God after turning your back on Him for so long. Your patience will win Him again.
Meanwhile, persevere in your fellowship with God to strengthen your weaknesses. You need to feed the weak with the Bread of God’s Word. Do not debate or give preference to your ideas, but communicate with Him as soon as possible.
One of the most inspirational prayers in the Bible is when Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and cried in tears out to His Father, “Abba, Father; all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” It was not new territory for John; the Psalmist said, “Teach me to do your will, for You, are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me to level ground.”
One of the most gripping stories in the Bible is about a man named Jonah. He chose to do his will and not God’s will, which almost cost him his life. The opening two paragraphs of the Book of Jonah tell the reason why: One day long ago, God’s Word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way, and I can’t ignore it any longer.”
“But Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get.” Here are four facts to remember about Jonah’s reaction to God’s call. First, your life’s mission must come to you through God’s Word. Second, your life’s mission will require a long step of faith. Third, your life’s mission will involve helping others. Four, your life’s mission may scare you at first.
Then there are nine lessons we can learn from Jonah’s fiasco: One, if you run from God, your life will go downhill. Two, “if you run from God, it will cost you.” Three, “if you run from God, He will not run with you.” Four, “if you run from the people you were supposed to help, will anyone rescue them?” Five, the longer you run from God, the worse it will get.” Sixth, “if you keep fighting against God’s plan, it will just get more challenging, and it won’t work.” Seven, “when you do what God wants, things will calm down.” Eight, “when you do what God says, unbelievers will believe.” Nine, “when you accept your mission, God will show you His mercy.”
Here’s a positive note on obeying God’s will instead of yours: God, in His kindness, has taught us how to be an expert builder. We have built upon the great works of other dedicated servants. But those who build on such a foundation must be very careful. And no one can ever lay any other real foundation than that one we already have – Jesus the Anointed One. But various kinds of materials are employed to build on that foundation. Some use gold and silver and jewels, and some build with sticks and hay or even straw! There will come a time of testing at the Anointed One’s Judgment Day to see what kind of material each builder used. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire so that all can see whether it keeps its value and what was accomplished. Then every worker who built on the Rock with the right materials and whose work still stands will get their reward.
 François Fénelon, Paraclete Giants, The Complete Fénelon, Translated and Edited by Robert J. Edmonson, Paraclete Press, Brewster, Massachusetts, 2008, p. 25; Vocabulary redacted by Dr. Robert R Seyda.
 Mark 14:36
 Psalm 143:10