In business, it’s a generally accepted practice to have a “hit by a bus” plan. Basically, it’s an outline of what will happen if someone in a key leadership position is unexpectedly able to fulfill their role and duties. (Why its always stated in terms of being hit by a bus, I have no idea. After all, how likely is this to occur?). The plan is useful for many reasons. It helps identify potential risks that the company has exposed itself to through not proactively training new leaders. It also can identify opportunities for leadership development, strategic reorganization, or possible inter-company synergies. Having plan for these unlikely contingencies is a good business practice because those organizations that are best prepared for any type of unlikely scenario is better equipped to mitigate the negative impact of unplanned occurrences, or better positioned to take advantage of any opportunities they afford.
Contingency planning, however, is less effective in terms of our walk with God. We often want to apply the same standards that organization use when charting our next course. We anticipate what will happen and try to buffer the potential impact. We manipulate situations in order to benefit from potential opportunities. This isn’t to say that planning is all bad. Scripture is very clear that plans can be blessed by God (Proverbs 16:3). However, Scripture is also very clear that it is God that determines the outcome (Proverbs 16:9). When we try to have a detailed anticipation of what God is up to, or we try to maneuver our way to get the desired results, we are creating limitations for how we think God can work. And when we do this, we often miss out on the unforeseen ways that God chooses to direct us.
Contingency planning can help an organization prepare for the unexpected. But its often in the unexpected ways of God that we receive the greatest blessings. Let’s commit to not constraining the work of God in our life to those things that we can anticipate, but instead, to set aside our contingencies and be open to what God has for us whether we’ve planned for it our not.