Man’s Way Versus God’s Plan – A Reprise

One View Of God's Sovereignty

Some time ago I saw a humorous depiction of what Man expects in life versus what God gives us, similar to the one I recreated above(though I don’t remember the captions).

I suspect the point, besides the humor, was to show how we believe our way with God will be easy, free of suffering and hardship, when, in fact, God never promised such a thing.

When I saw the original, I laughed, but then I thought, How unlike God. My thinking was that the picture, not identifying any reason why God would take us into rough terrain, makes Him seem arbitrary and cruel, even masochistic, as if He’s yanking our chain simply to see us suffer.

But also, the first panel shows Man in the most positive light. Yes, he expects an easy path, but he’s steadily moving forward, growing, improving, reaching toward that final destination.

Actually, I don’t think either panel captures reality clearly. First, the truth about Humankind is that we wander, take wrong turns, leave the path, go our own way. We aren’t focused on moving further up and further in as we should be.

Man's Actual Plan

The above diagram is a more accurate depiction of the path we take. But there’s another version.

God's Work To Move Us Toward Him

God, because of our waywardness and because of His love for us, directs us back to Himself.

That’s it. Like a loving Father, He spanks our hands or puts us in time out or grounds us or takes away our cell phone or car keys or whatever it takes to move us away from our willfulness because He loves us too much to see us go the wrong way. He is most definitely not capricious and He is NOT cruel.

But His kindness and mercy mean He will sometimes withhold the rain or let the Philistines conquer the land or keep us in the wilderness because He wants us to know Him, follow Him, trust Him, love Him instead of going our own way.

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My apologies to any actual artists! 😉 This post is an edited version of one that appeared here in May 2014.


  1. Very true. Our ways are not His ways, He always has better plans


  2. Hi Rebecca…good post. I like your last sentence best.

    God has timeless foresight…we do not…so this sets up the faith of Hebrews 11:1 where God uses a gap or interval of time to create lessons of faith.

    Every biblical story of faith has incredibly fine-tuned purpose and direction. Skeptical unbelief coming from philosophical atheism has done a lot of damage to the credibility of these biblical stories over the last four centuries…because of anti-supernatural bias…but these stories of faith like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David have God displacing our ways with His higher ways…the subject of your post…which would never come out of human literary invention…too novel and contrary to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

    The Big Bang of modern science…something created out of nothing…requiring an intelligent designer God…actually refutes the older notion that our natural world is a closed system…miracles are allowed if all of the laws of physics, chemistry, and mathematics came into being along with matter and energy.

    So try to view the Old Testament and New Testament stories of faith as coming from the creative imagination of God…and factually correct because they could not possibly be fiction or myth…because they are too complex, too sophisticated, and too unconventional to be the product of human literary invention.

    Hope this helps somewhat. God bless you. Barton

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    • “they could not possibly be fiction or myth…because they are too complex, too sophisticated, and too unconventional to be the product of human literary invention.” Excellent point, Barton. I hope I remember that.


  3. Love this post SO much! Thank you for this wonderful reminder. God is good! 😊

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  4. I love this. I think I’ve seen a similar picture before I never thought about it that way, but your right… without further explanation it does make God seem cruel. Thanks for sharing.

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