Read the Directions – Mary Southerland

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I am an average cook and a below average baker. Consequently, I am of little value in the “cookies from scratch” department. Our daughter, Danna, however, loves to bake and is very good at whipping up three-dozen cookies or her favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I will never forget the day Danna baked her first batch of cookies from scratch.

It was a Saturday morning, and Danna had a “craving” for cookies. Not cookies in a package or from a store, but real cookies she insisted. Watching her gather all of the necessary ingredients, I asked which recipe she was planning to use. With a smug look of disdain, my competent daughter turned to her pitifully incompetent mother and explained that she didn’t really need a recipe. After all, she had made hundreds of slice and bake cookies, not to mention the dozens of brownies from a box. How hard could it be? I decided to watch.

The kitchen counters quickly filled with various bowls, a tub of butter, flour, vanilla and milk. Tossing an occasional gracious and confident smile my way, Danna mixed differing amounts of each ingredient and stirred vigorously. Satisfied that it “looked right,” she fished a cookie pan out of the cabinet, sprayed it with oil and began carefully spooning out the cookie dough. I was truly impressed. After setting the timer, she cleaned the kitchen, while waiting for the delicious results.

When the timer went off, Danna quickly pulled the cookies out of the oven, sliding them off the pan and onto a plate. They smelled good and looked good to me – but a skeptical frown met my encouraging words, warning of danger just ahead. Pinching off a bite, Danna popped the cookie into her mouth. Now keep in mind that my daughter does have a flair for the dramatic, but I was totally unprepared for the culinary eruption that followed. Bits of cookie sprayed the kitchen counter and appliances as Danna coughed, choked, and strangled her way to the announcement that those cookies were “disgusting.” Grabbing the plate, she deposited her project in the garbage, and fished the cookie recipe out of a kitchen drawer, studying the magic formula. When I asked what went wrong, she explained through a sheepish grin, “I thought I knew how to make cookies on my own. So I didn’t read the recipe and left out the eggs.” One of the qualities I most admire in Danna is her persistence, which compelled her to begin again. The second time around, following the recipe resulted in scrumptious results. God’s plan is much the same.

God’s has a unique plan or “recipe” for each one of us. God reveals His plan through the Bible. It is the instruction book of life, the blueprint for life construction, and the road map for the journey. When we saturate our lives with God’s Word, it will naturally lead us and guide us according to His plan. Our greatest opportunity for success is to live that plan. God tucks into our very soul a discontentment with anything but His life “recipe.” If we approach each day searching for His handprints in every situation, choosing to walk in obedience to His Word, we will surely find ourselves smack dab in the middle of God’s amazing purpose and plan.

The awesome truth is that more than we want to know His plan for our life, He wants us to know it and stands ready to guide us to and through that plan. The more time we spend with the Plan Maker, and the more we choose to obey His plan, the clearer that plan grows. God always reveals His plan to an obedient heart. Just as surely as Danna left the eggs out of her first effort, we leave Him out of our plans, and go our own foolish way. Still, He waits. When the results are disastrous and we have made a mess of it all, He stands ready to begin again. We could save ourselves a lot of pain and futility if we simply read and follow the right set of directions.

*Excerpt taken from Biblegateway’s Girlfriends in God

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