There’s Plan A – all your hopes and dreams and ideals.
Then there’s Plan B – the realities of life. Costly mistakes. Disappointments. Sliding into second and suddenly finding that not only did someone move the base, but the infield dirt was replaced by broken glass.
This book – rather obviously – is about Plan B.
This little volume was written to help people see that God is ever at work in His transforming purposes, even (and especially) in the many “Plan B” circumstances of life. The author is Pete Wilson, an energetic young pastor in Nashville – I came into contact with him through his blogging and his sharing on Twitter. I think Pete does an exceptional job living out the transparent on-line life of this networked younger generation.
We’ve had lots of Plan B’s in our life. Sometimes, it seems like the whole thing is one giant Plan B. And for both my wife and myself, this book was an encouragement. Because often, as the subtitle so eloquently puts it, “God doesn’t show up the way you thought He would.”
In keeping with Pete’s persona, the writing style is quite casual, even conversational. If you only dine on the weighty and detailed theological treatises of a John Owen or a Stephen Charnock, this might not be for you. But if you want to gain an on-the-ground perspective of reality, including some pretty frank and honest stories, then you’ll benefit. Especially if you, like 99.9999% of the world, have not managed to achieve Plan A (the other .0001% is deluded and living in isolation in Greenland).
The 14 chapters are a good length for daily devotions, and there are discussion questions in the back that could be helpful for group study.
No book is perfect, of course, and this one has its flaws. At times, there is a wordy repetitiveness, which shows its “preacher” origin – certain grammatical structures are much more appropriate for the spoken rather than the written word. And, in the noble attempt not to give facile and formulaic biblical answers to suffering, the opportunity was lost in the final chapter to deeply underscore the wise, predetermined, inexorable and unstoppable plan of God in bringing about conformity to Christ, as outlined so profoundly in a passage such as Romans 8:28-39. It is not merely our choice to have faith that makes Plan B work out – it is God’s choice of us in Christ, including His gift of faith. Even if we can’t put a nice bow on the package of our sufferings now, God has still woven a far better bow, and it will crown the end of our days.
One sane look at the present, and we’re forced to say, “I don’t know.” But a sane look at the future allows us to say, despite everything, “I know whom I have believed, and He will bring it to pass.”
Pete’s a young guy, with a young family of boys (something I “get”), and he’s one of the newer generation of pastors who seek to use social media as a means of outreach and encouragement – on-line networked communications are woven into the fabric of his local and extended ministry. Someday, I hope we’ll meet (I still miss Nashville after 25 years away from it!), and while my hairstyle will never be as avant-garde as his, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of tales to tell. Plan B: highly recommended!
P.S. Sometimes a book seems to naturally go hand-in-glove with a song. I’d nominate Tenth Avenue North’s Hold My Heart as the natural Plan B theme song!