Posted by: Brad Stanford | December 20, 2009

The Way Of It

I started this blog documenting all the silly things I ran into as a city boy moving to the country. And trust me, those things are still happening here and there, and will continue to for awhile I’m sure. I’ve already talked to some friends about writing a city-to-country handbook to give to others who might move down here.

As this blog progressed, both I and winter got moved in. With less outside work, I started talking more about life lessons and observations related to situations from that day or week, and less about my inadequacies as a country boy. In essence, I quit writing about the event, and just wrote about the lesson. Oftentimes, the lesson was 1300 words, so there was only enough room to get to the “what” without describing the “why”.

This was not what I had planned. Fantasies and realities rarely meet. It is the walk towards a fantasy ending that makes things change. It is likely we will not see the fantasy come true, but something new will happen simply because we’re trying to make it come true.

This is why we need to be careful about what we imagine – we will gravitate toward it eventually. This is why Paul says to the Phillippians8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” What the enemy exploits to destroy us is actually a built-in tool to move us towards God. And the closer we get to Him, the more things like attitudes, relationships, and finances get in line with bringing the Kingdom to Earth.

It has been said that no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan. But that’s not true. Many people with perfect plans have failed. Many people with no plan have succeeded. There is a greater law at work, that is, what God wants to do on Earth. A good example of this on a small scale: I was at Six Flags one day. A noticed a discussion amongst a group of high-schoolers as they decided what to do next. One guy was dead-set on getting a funnel cake. The others in the group looked at him like he was crazy, as apparently this was the first time he had mentioned said desire. They frowned and said, “You realize that the funel cake place is way over there.” He said, “I know – but I want a funnel cake.” They made arrangements about where to meet up, and he took off for his funnel cake, with his puzzled friends left behind to enjoy the next ride without him.

To me, this was an object lesson. There was no rational reason for the young man to abandon his group and go for a funnel cake at that moment. Yet, he was absolutely compelled to go. This is exactly what the battle of good and evil looks like. Small compellings on each team make up the battle plans for a given day. Where God is trying to make people meet, the enemy is trying to keep them apart. When a man feels compelled to move, the enemy tries to make him relax. Constant back and forth, constant positioning, constant tension. The physical world and its events simply reflect that battle.

Forget about making plans. If the group at Six Flags was planning to stay together for the whole day, someone was disappointed by the decision of one person to go get a funnel cake by themselves. If the plan was understood to be, “Let’s go have fun at Six Flags” then the mission was still accomplished, no matter where everybody was positioned.

If your plan is to do such and so, make money and retire, you could very well be disappointed. If your plan is to get a certain candidate elected so as to change the world, I can guarantee your disappointment without even knowing who the candidate is. It’s better to back up and align with a plan that will function in a number of scenarios: what does God want?

When you find yourself at odds with God – accidentally or otherwise – the best course of action is to drop what you’re doing and change. Maybe you have saved money for your child’s college before finding out if they need college for their God-planned path. Great! Instead of lamenting the loss of a fantasy you had for your child, realize that the money you saved is not available to help them start a business, buy a house or car, or some other thing that will help them move towards God. They learn from us how to repent and turn to God, and your willingness to listen and respond to His plans rather than your own will teach them.

God’s Kingdom is coming, and will replace all the other kingdoms. Best to plan on joining that effort, and asking God what to do, than to plan a bunch of things and ask him to include your plans in His kingdom.

My plan was to blog about my city-to-country adventure. His plan was for me to write about my interactions with Him. By setting my attention on Him, I have gravitated – and will continue to gravitate – toward what He wants, until I look just like Jesus. Paul called it “transformation”. God calls it a promise.

That is the way of it.



  1. Or in another words, if the Lord wills we will do this or that. Oh and my goal in life is to enjoy the trip. That’s what I’ve learned from this article Brad.

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