Unmet Plans


I just turned 30 this year, and it was a difficult milestone, as I’m not yet the self-made millionaire I was supposed to be by this time.

I’m a tricky guy; I eat cookie dough and get giddy over a tacky Christmas light displays with all those cheap plastic light-up Santas and snowmen. But deep-down I’ve been a Scrooge. (I turned off the Christmas music a couple of days ago because it was just too much.)

But 2013 has been a difficult year.

I had high expectations to be met by this time.

We were supposed to have a kid by now, be financially stable – no, comfortable, and  have my book be a New York Times bestseller.

But with just thirteen days left of the year, it’s not likely my plans will come through, and my resolutions must be delayed another year.

But, hard as it is for me to admit, God’s plans are right on target.

And, honestly, I hate that.

It’s true that His ways are not our ways. And sometimes I just want to scream, “Why don’t You just make Your ways MY ways?!”

Maybe I’m not alone. Maybe you had big plans for 2013, too. Maybe you were expecting a promotion by now, or hoping to see a friend or family member come to salvation by this point, or… I don’t know, hoping to finish that book, or go on that vacation.

But the December 31st deadline is crushing in on us.

Something I have to realize and come to grips with is that everything’s on schedule according to God’s watch.

It’s easy to write that, and say it. But darn near impossible to believe.

Or if I do believe it deep down, it makes me angry.

Conform your ways to mine, God. You know?

One of the greatest lines of all time is from the movie Fiddler on the Roof. It’s the last verse in Tevye’s song, “If I Were a Wealthy Man”:

Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.

And here it is:

Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man.

It’s meant to be humorous, but it chokes me up every time.

I’m not trying to sound wise or profound here, but I think the answer to that question, as hard as it is to admit, is yes. Yes, if God were to “smite me with money” (or happiness, or wishes-come-true), it would spoil His eternal plan for my life.

I wouldn’t have to work at my day job, and, who knows, make friends with the people I work with; listen to them, laugh with them, witness to them, pray for them. (Not that I’m great at the latter two, but the opportunity is there, nonetheless.)

When self-made deadlines approach and when our dreams fall through, these are truths that are hard to face, but face them we must.

If I’ve learned anything from the Christian life, it’s that hardly anything in it makes sense. And nothing is fair.

But you know what helps? To know that others have been in your place. And they’ve made it through, alive, well, joyful, and healthy.

I guess it’s true that there’s nothing new under the sun.

But you know what? I may not have everything I want, but if I did, what would there be left to fight for?

I want happiness for my wife. I can fight for that.

I want financial comfort for my family. Bring it on.

On my good days, I want my coworkers to know God. Let’s do this.

This is all easy to say and creatively write this in a blog post, but it’s another to believe it.

But, traditionally speaking, Christmas is the time for impossible belief, isn’t it? The miracle at the year’s midnight? The mustard seed planted in the eleventh hour?

And maybe – just maybe – from that seed can sprout a little hope, a little faith. Just enough to start things off for next year. A better year.

A hopeful year.

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Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

57 thoughts on “Unmet Plans

  1. As a Christian myself I can tell you you are not alone in feeling like this but then you knew that already didn’t you? Our life as a family has been turned upside down pretty much this year and it would be good sometimes to know what God is doing behind the scenes and what His timescale is. But as you said it’s about faith which as we know ” is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Not meaning to sound patronising. Happy Christmas and here’s hoping for a clearer 2014. And would it really spoil some vast eternal plan if you and I were wealthy? Sadly. Probably yes!


  2. Thanks for the honesty in this post! I’ve had variously frustrating years as far as accomplishing what I’ve wanted to accomplish. And, at 42, I’ve been frustrated at my progress on life plans. But one thing that has helped is that while I’ve not nailed my annual goals, necessarily, I know that creating them and having them there have helped make improvements that I know wouldn’t have otherwise happened.

    Even the very activity of creating plans and praying through them helps reconnect me to God’s heart and the stuff He’s put inside this clay pot.


  3. Thanks James for your honesty and opening your heart! There is a time for every purpose under heaven, and I suppose in heaven – on earth as it is in heaven. Best wishes for a glorious 2014! Hope your book does well!


  4. Reading your recent posts, especially this one, just seems so timely! And I believe it’s not just a coincidence. I may be too young to be saying this, but this year has been the most challenging to me. Frustrations and disappointments, emotional and mental roller-coasters are abound, and the year coming to an end just makes me more anxious as I ask myself the same pivotal questions in this article.

    God willing, when it comes I’ll be sure to quote/link to this post as the “answers” (realizations) have finally set in. Hopefully, God willing, before this year ends.



  5. Thank you for this post. I know people say they need to see and read this, but, believe me, I DID need to read this today. We are almost three years of hubby being ill and unable to work. Our savings are about done and we are truly living on faith. Long story… but, we definitely are not where we want to be right now. Each time we make plans to move forward, the Lord says, not yet. It has been a journey and honestly, I am tired. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, our God is faithful. His timing is perfect. He never leaves us, nor forsakes us. His timing is the absolute perfect time for us. Yes, it is hard to live it, it is harder to continue to have faith, but, this I know, in my almost 60 years of life, He is One to make things absolutely the best for us. I hope joy is returned and birthed anew in you in this advent season. May this Christmas bring hope, peace, joy and a measure of faith to you that you have never experienced. thank you for writing this post. It was the encouragement I needed to know that if I cannot go visit my grandson next week, it is okay, there is a perfect time for a trip for me, maybe just not now. DAF


    1. Thank you for sharing this. It is encouraging to hear of someone who is further down the road than I, and still having faith. Thank you.


  6. I was just needing this affirmation. I’ve had some hard realizations lately and our church has been really helping me with this very thing. Faith in God’s plan. I know he’s here watching over me but it’s hard sometimes. I’m a new Christian and have finally awakened to Him and it feels so wonderful, but I know he challenges me to keep faith when I want to question why.


    1. It’s hardest being a new Christian, or renewed Christian. Satan tends to jump right in the ring and give his hardest punches without giving you a chance. Don’t underestimate him, but also don’t underestimate God, as I tend to do.


  7. I believe in being a Christian – I say that because I follow what I hope are Christian values in my life. I do not however, belong to any established church or religion. To me there is a higher power and at times in my life when I have been as low as I possibly could be or before making what would have been a monumental mistake, something has pulled me back from the brink. We are not rich in material things but we have a lovely home, food on the table, a fire to sit in front of and a richness of memories of our life together. One of the key lessons I have learned is that for everything there is a season and a time. If yours is not now, then it will be when it is right. All you can do is prepare for that day. But, remember that happiness is not something attached to future money, success or perceived values. It is today, here and now and it is in the look in your wife’s eyes, your health, your ability to write and just being. Enjoy Christmas and the New Year.


  8. I totally get what you’re saying and that sounded like me a couple years ago too. Have I reached all my goals and do I have everything in life that I’ve wanted? No! But what I did do last year was change the way I look at things.
    Challenges occur in life, people do things that upset you, things don’t go your way…that’s not God, it’s daily life. Instead of focusing on the negative, be thankful for the positive and make a conscious effort to be thankful everyday. When you focus on that gratefulness, you’ll be surprised at the many blessings you have and the more you will receive. I’m sure you already are very thankful, but it helps to say it each and every day even if it’s only to yourself. Read The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. It really has changed how I handle my everyday life. It’s a great book and there are some real nuggets of wisdom in there.
    Thanks for sharing this great post. May you and your family have a blessed holiday!


  9. You have a wife that you love and she loves you, you´re in good health, you´re about to have a baby….I´m 31, unemployed(27% unemployment in Spain)and almost broke,have to get the freaking car from the pawn shop, I have severe pancreatitis so my body is a f…cking mess, my uncle is dying so I will spend christmas at the hospital with what looks like a living corpse, my dog´s shit too much, I have to take care of the house while my mother is at the hospital with my uncle which I´ll see her soon…….I think you´re doing quite well.

    You convinced me, I checked your book, and what people have said about it. So my new year´s resolution I guess it will be to read it.


    1. I just prayed a very specific prayer for you, sir. And I really hope you like it! Wait a couple months for the second edition – it’ll be worth the wait!


  10. you have a way of writing my battles in eloquent words lol as a christian in part time ministry, full time job and (attempting to write) a book it just feels overwhelming. last week i really asked God why cant HE partner with me on my plans lol in as much as I got God’s answer why its still comforting to know i am not alone with my feelings.


    1. I hear you. I think this is why the agonies and cries from the Bible speak so loudly to us. I hate the saying “misery loves company” but it’s true. It just sounds so depressing!


  11. well written – and so right on! God has great things in store – and we joke that often it feels like God takes way too long – for out timetable hat is – but he is always right on time – and perfect with it!

    Quick story to share, but my hubby and I met in 1995 -but we were in the same school starting in 1994 – and for years I wondered why God did not have us meet in 94. In fact, I thought he messed up – because my hubby had court battles with his ex-wife and needed my support, and I went through a horrible move – and in my mind I was kind of disappointed that we did not have each other for support.

    However, when certain things came our way in 2001 and 2002 – well the lessons we had learned from that year kept us stable. And especially for me, there was an experience I had in 1994 that really anchored me in my marriage – and still does.

    so keep that in mind, God is the perfect multi-tasker – and he is fortifying you and your wife so that when other things line up – you will be solid and anchored in ever more – (and I love how your wrote about this all in your post – you covered many angles and it was just so good)- and so may the Lord continue to strengthen and protect you and your wife as you enjoy today while you still pursue goals and dreams. 🙂


  12. Whilst writing my my 2013 summary I looked back on the all the stress of this year and smiled because everything worked out the way it was supposed to be and whilst I heard God’s whispering in my ear many times this year: ‘You are exactly where you are supposed to be” I still stressed and kicked against it thinking why cant it be my way…..But in hindsight he had a bigger plan and of course it was right…..its so hard to just let it go but know he’s got your back and Everything is as it should be.

    Have an amazing Christmas and may 2014 be everything you dreamed it would be and more!!


  13. I enjoyed reading your post.

    Our faith is a process and the Lord gives us what we need at the very RIGHT moment. No, it doesn’t always fit into our plans, but it’s the best plan. And…

    RIGHT at this very moment and for eternity you are a “wealthy man”. We who know the King are sons and daughters and our inheritance is in abundance even now.

    As my late husband was walking the path and plan God had for him and his journey with cancer, he wrote a note (which I found after his death and I now have posted in one of my journals) “God does not make life hard, He makes it impossible”. The impossible journey of trials and hardships come our way, but with empty hands before the Lord, He creates the possibilities far more than we could ever hope for.

    Our walk together we did with barely any funds to live on and the future we knew we would have to face knowing the outcome. The Lord held us and provided funds for all our needs, we were never in want. Possibly, because we walked in faith and obedience to His word and knew He is and always will be faithful to His promises to sustain and uphold us.

    Continue to walk in His blessings as they come, great or small. Often times, it’s in the small ones we receive the greatest blessings. Keep your focus on the “main” thing and be “entirely His”.


    Merry Christmas to you and Sarabeth!


  14. Great thoughts, Andrew. One thing I like to think about is that we have an opportunity while here on earth to bring glory to God by exercising our faith, trusing in the unseen, believing in the goodness of God against all “evidence” to the contrary. That opportunity will never be available again, and it is not available anywhere else in the universe (that we know of) or to any other creatures (we are told specifically that the angels long to look into this).

    I like Kenneth Taylor’s paraphrase of Ephesians 1:18 in the Living Bible: “I want you to know that GOD HAS BEEN MADE RICH because you who belong to Christ have been given to him.” Think about it: The all-powerful Creator of the universe could choose anything He likes to measure His wealth by, and He chooses us? Go figure!


  15. Posts like this one is the reason I enjoy your blog so much. To be honest with you every blog keeps getting better.

    As you know, you and I have disussed this topic earlier. You know how to express in writing what a large amount people feel. A wiseman asked me “Do you want to be saying the same things about unmet plans at 50 that you are talking about now?”… NO I DO NOT!


  16. You wrote, “If I’ve learned anything from the Christian life, it’s that hardly anything in it makes sense. And nothing is fair.”

    If you can hang onto this, and know that God is with you through everything, then you’ll do all right. I’m quite a bit older than you, and I had many of the same dreams. My husband and I were unable to have children. And it took me until this year to finally have a book published. But step by step, I’ve learned to trust the Lord more and more through all the disappointments and delays. One thing that keeps me going is the latter part of Hebrews 11:

    “And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two,* they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

    Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, without us, be made perfect.”

    They did not received what was promised, but they were accounted faithful. Our faithfulness matters far more than achieving the material goals we set.

    Sorry this is so long. Your post touched a chord.


  17. Hi James thank you so much for this post, it has been a much needed timely read for me. It is quite comforting and reassuring to know that other Christians are in the same boat, particularly if it looks like everyone else around you is being blessed and you aren’t, although selfish as this may sound.

    But even from reading all the great and insightful comments I have learnt quite a few things. Maybe being blessed isn’t the point, but I love what bpfshg wrote: “God does not make life hard, He makes it impossible”

    God bless you James


  18. Hey James – I just read this post and I read it misty-eyed. I can so relate. But we can declare: As long as there’s life, there’s hope. Here’s to New Beginnings to this New Year and to Second Chances.


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