Plan B is second best. Plan B is a fallback option. Plan B is what we settle for when Plan A doesn’t work out. Plan B is necessitated by Murphy’s Law.
When we pray for …
- acceptance to our preferred university … and the school turns down our application
- the perfect job … and our preferred employer chooses a different candidate than us
- Mr./Mrs. Right to ask us out on a date or propose marriage … and we sit home alone on Saturday night
- a winning lottery ticket … and we barely make ends meet
- good health … and we are diagnosed with cancer
- good weather for our dream vacation … and it rains every day
- a close parking spot at the mall … and we wind up as far from the entrance as possible
… we respond by saying, “Well, God must have plan B in mind.”
In our mind, Plan A is perfect. Plan A will satisfy our desires and meet our needs. Plan B is less than ideal. Plan B will leave us unsatisfied and will not address our needs let alone our wants.
The problem with this line of reasoning is that Plan B thinking does not square with what Scripture teaches.
In the midst of exile, God said to his people. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
In the midst of lingering pain, God said to the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul responded by saying, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
James said that God only gives perfect gifts. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17)
The psalmist said that God does not keep good things from people of integrity. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11)
Paul said that God’s work in our lives is good and that he is not stymied from completing it. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
If God’s plans are always for my welfare … if his plans give me a hopeful future … if God’s power is best seen in weakness … if God only gives good gifts … if God doesn’t hold back his blessings … if God always completes his work … doesn’t it follow that God’s plan is always Plan A? Doesn’t it stand to reason that his plans are always best?
Perhaps the problem is not with God’s answer but with my request. Maybe the difficulty is that I am asking for Plan B and God wants to give me Plan A.