“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
The book of Proverbs is filled with random wise sayings, ranging from the right way to handle finances to how to avoid destructive people. One key theme throughout the book is the source of wisdom: that is, true wisdom only comes from fearing God. People’s troubles arise when they reject God’s counsel and strike out on their own, confident in their own abilities to accomplish what needs to be done. The wise man, however, submits to God’s leading, knowing that God is infinitely wiser than any human can hope to be.
Proverbs often speaks of God directing people’s steps. A well-known example is Proverbs 3:5-6, which states, “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.” We all have ways that seem good to us, but as the writer of Proverbs warns, that way will lead to death. Our natural bent is to sin. We were born with a sinful nature, and so our innate desires are for corrupt things. But God is perfect, completely free from sin. He alone knows the right way, and in His grace, He directs us in that way. We do not have to follow our own destructive path! Instead, we can submit to God’s lordship and trust that He does indeed know best.
Because at the end of the day, God’s plan will always win out. We all know what it’s like to have perfectly-laid plans that are shattered when one little detail goes awry. God’s plans, however, are never like that. He directs the world in perfect harmony, ensuring everything goes exactly as intended. We can make our plans, but in the end, it is God’s will that takes place. It is our job to trust that His plans are indeed better than ours.