Did you ever hear the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”? I’m sure we’ve all had plans over the years which never came to fruition. I know I have, and sometimes its easy to get stuck in the past, thinking of what might have been, what could have been, what should have been. Over the years, I’ve come in contact with many people who never get unstuck, choosing to remain trapped in their past, failing to recognize that God may have a fresh plan for them, one which includes a future full of hope (Jerimiah 29:11).
With twenty other pilgrims, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1495-1556) entered Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate, shown here, at 10 am on September 4, 1523 (he kept a great journal). That’s 495 years ago today! His was an arduous pilgrimage, taking months of hard travel and filled with risks. But when he arrived, it was with the sense that God called him here, and it was his hope that he would remain in the Holy Land for the rest of his life. And yet, while that was Ignatius’s hope and dream, God had other plans. Big plans for this former Spanish courtier, soldier, nobleman.
The next time you think about your past, including the many good times, along with those you wish to forget, don’t get stuck there. Maybe all those plans of your youth have turned into nothing. Don’t get stuck there. Repent where you need to, then trust in God’s infinite mercy as you come out of the past and boldly into your future. When Ignatius got forced out of the Holy Land, little did he know the impact he would have in the lives of countless people, some even 495 years after he walked through the Jaffa Gate. He didn’t know what his future held, but he trusted that God had a plan for him. St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises changed me nearly ten years ago, and now I have the chance to share them with others. I will always be grateful that Ignatius decided that maybe, just maybe, God had a different plan for him, something to do other than what he first thought would be his destiny. Trust that it might just be the same for you.
God has a plan for each and everyone of us, and when we call Him, pray to Him, look for Him, and seek Him will all our hearts, we will find Him with us, and He will change our lot (Jerimiah 29:12-14). That sounds like the plan for me, and I hope it’s the same for you. Let’s start implementing that plan, starting today, boldly and full of confidence, no matter what our present circumstances might be.