One Sabbath afternoon not too long ago, I overheard a conversation between two of my friends, and it intrigued me. A group of us had decided to go hiking at Laurel Falls, but some of us needed to be back home earlier than others. Our group split, and while the majority of our fellow hikers went up to the falls, the rest of us played and hiked down among the large rocks in the stream.
I was sitting with Allana, Margie, and Heather on one such large rock while Ivan was skipping rocks, throwing big stones in the water, and just generally being a guy. Then Ivan came and showed us a great find-- a very large flat rock, which he then proceeded to throw in the water after each of us had commented on how much we liked it. A few minutes later, Ivan returned again with another large, flat rectangular rock.
"Do you like my rock?" he asked as he showed it off to each of us.
While he was preoccupied, Allana turned to me and said jokingly, "We'd better not tell him that we like it or else he just might toss it into the water as well."
And so Allana feigned indifference toward the rock. Ivan was a little dismayed.
"What's wrong with my rock, Allana? Why don't you like it?"
"Well, I don't know what's so great about it," she answered apathetically.
"What's not great about it? It's a perfectly square rock!" Ivan exclaimed exultantly.
We all laughed, and Allana replied, "There's nothing square about it! How can you say it's a perfect square?"
Ivan was quick to defend his find. "Well, it's an awful lot better and more square than all the rest of these rocks!"
The banter continued for a while until we moved on to other amusements. But Allana's and Ivan's discussion got me thinking. It was quite clear to all of us that the rock was not, as Ivan had claimed, anywhere close to a perfect square. Even his defense admitted that fact.
Sometimes I think we present our plans and designs to God the same way that Ivan presented his rock to Allana. We tell Him how great it will be if things will just work out the way we've planned, and when God says no to our plans, we're so quick, whether by words or by actions, to defend our schemes.
"What's not to like about it? It's a perfect plan!" we complain to God. And even when we're honest enough with ourselves to admit the obvious flaws, we still try to sell God on the point that it's a much better plan than any other that we can see at the moment.
But that's just it-- God sees so much more than we do. And while our designs may seem like the closest thing to perfect we can imagine, God sees the true perfectly square rocks that are hidden from our sight.
"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." Psalm 37:4-7a, ESV
"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. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!" Psalm 84:11, 12, ESV
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil." Proverbs 3:5-7, ESV