You and I simply never know for sure what’s coming next. That about it: your life hasn’t worked according to your plan. You couldn’t have written yourself into your present situation twenty years ago. Last week didn’t work according to your plan. Today won’t work according to your plan.
This means that, every day, you deal with the unexpected, with things you didn’t plan to have on your plate. Enter the principle of prepared spontaneity – it sounds like a contradiction, but it isn’t.
You actually can be prepared for things that you don’t yet know you will face. You can be ready for things that you had no idea would come your way. In fact, I’m persuaded that this is one of the main functions of Scripture.
God’s Word enables us to be prepared to decide, think, desire, act, and speak well in a world in which we aren’t sovereign. Here’s how it works: if we have taken in what the Bible says about God, ourselves, life, sin, and the surrounding world, we’re ready to deal spontaneously with things that we didn’t expect.
But prepared spontaneity is not only about potential problems – it’s also about the message of promised provision. Yes, you need to be aware of what you're going to face in a fallen world, but it’s also about knowing what you've been given so that you can face it with courage and hope.
How are you doing with prepared spontaneity? Here are a couple of questions that might help:
- In what ways are you still trying to be sovereign over your own life?
- Why might you struggle to accept the fact that life won’t work according to your plan?
- How can you better prepare yourself for potential problems in this fallen world?
- How can you better remind yourself of the Gospel’s promised provision?
Paul David Tripp