A Reflection on God’s Plan
by Colonel Bill D. Luttrell –
I attended a family reunion this summer. Oh now, this was not your ordinary “run of the mill” annual garden party. It was a once in a lifetime event! Months of planning and organizing went into working out arrangements and details. There were decisions regarding location and the urgency to ensure that as many family members as possible would be in attendance.
This was big time! You see, my mother, Laura Blanche, had three sisters (Aunts Ola, Eda and Georgia) and two brothers (Uncles Harold and Nathan). Uncle Nathan is the only surviving sibling. However, to give you some idea of how quickly the potential for a grand turnout could occur, you need to know that my parents had nine children (I won’t elaborate on the families of my mother’s siblings, mainly because I have not yet sorted them all out). The descendants of my sibling brothers and sisters encompasses four generations. Are you getting the picture? Brothers and sisters, children, in-laws, Uncle Nathan and Aunt Shirley; and frankly, there were so many other individuals that I couldn’t figure out just how we were all related!
The reunion was held in my hometown. I was surprised to realize that some of this extended, extended family had lived there all their lives. Now don’t get me wrong–Greeley, Colo., is a beautiful, serene community. It has a renowned university (the University of Northern Colorado), a mixture of cattle and farming industries, and a booming development of new homes and businesses. Situated on the edge of the Great Plains and a short drive from the beautiful Rocky Mountains, it is for some a setting of great contentment! But for all your life??
When I left home at the age of 18, I had no idea where my commitment to God and The Salvation Army would take me. Frankly, then I didn’t give it much thought. I would like to think I went forth with great faith. However, in retrospect, there must have been an element of ignorance present as well. You see, since then I’ve had residence in 16 different towns or cities, living in somewhere near 21 different homes. Could I have stayed in Greeley for an additional 40 plus years?
As I reflect on that reunion and ask myself that question, I’m drawn to the reality of how God has worked in my life–indeed how he is willing to work in the life of anyone who will call him Saviour and respond to his will and purpose.
When I left that small community in 1957, I had no idea what God would do in and through me. If I had known, I may not have gone. If I had not, who would I be today? Would I be serving Christ…would I have a ministry…would I have a wonderful Christian wife, two loving daughters, two sons-in-law, and two wonderful grandchildren? Would I be part of an extended Salvation Army family and a participant in the Family of God? I will never know that.
“But this one thing I know–God in great mercy pardoned me, snapped sin’s fetter and set me free…” I have discovered that God has had and continues to have a plan for my life “…declares the Lord,” plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give hope and a future.
The real issue then is not whether I should have gone or stayed. It’s the decision that I and each of us must make, to be obedient to God’s will and purpose for our lives.
The time with my immediate and extended family was enriching and reassuring. But I know I don’t belong there. By God’s grace, he has been patient and loving to me. He has revealed day by day his plan for my life; and through his strength, I can remain obedient.
What about you and your life? Are you willing to go…or stay, to fulfill God’s plan for your life?
The path that I have trod,
Has bro’t me nearer God,
Tho’ oft it led thro’ sorrow’s gates;
Tho’ not the way I’d choose,
In my way I might lose
The joy that yet for me awaits.
Not what I wish to be,
Nor where I wish to go,
For who am I that I should choose my way?
The Lord shall choose for me,
‘Tis better far I know,
So let Him bid me go, or stay.