“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations”—Psalm 33:11 (NIV).
An anonymous quote on social media recently grabbed my attention. It said, “Long before Zacchaeus couldn’t see Jesus, the tree was planted to meet his need.”
Not only do I love this quote, I had to share it. Reflecting on the words, I began to think about God’s plans for my life. Until my rebirth, I never considered how God had already prepared a way for me, just as He did for Zacchaeus.
According to Luke 19, the tree Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus is a Ficus sycomorus—its scientific name. That type tree can take from 20 to 50 years to grow to full maturity. So, it’s possible that before Zacchaeus was born, the tree he climbed was planted.
Before We Were Ever Born
Before we were ever born, God had plans for us. He knew the span of our life before we were formed in our mothers’ womb and the number of hairs on our head.
God doesn’t leave such attention to detail to chance. He has plans for each of His children, and they are good.
Before we even realize we’re going to need something, God has already planned for that need. Even before we ask Him for it, His plans are already in motion. Just ask Zacchaeus.
His Plans in Motion
My parents grew up attending church faithfully with their families. However, once they met and married, their church attendance was sporadic. Seven days before their seventh wedding anniversary, I was born. By this time, their church attendance had ceased. But God, in all His wisdom, knew my sister and I needed a Biblical foundation.
About the time my sister was born, 22 months after me, my parents purchased their first home. Brand new, the house was located a block from a small Methodist church. When my sister and I were old enough, we walked with other neighborhood children to attend Sunday School and church. My sister and I were baptized there. We made friends and participated in activities. But more importantly, we learned about God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Was it by chance that my parents purchased the house at 755 West Jefferson Place in Lake Charles, Louisiana? What do you think?
From the Very Beginning
From the very beginning when He created this world, we learn God is a planner. In Genesis 1, his plan unfolded into day and night, heavens and earth, land and sea, sun and moon, birds and fish, animals, and humans.
Just four verses into scripture, we read God not only likes His plan, He calls it good. In fact, God calls His plan “very” good.
God’s plan is structured for His purposes, and we are part of those purposes. The tree, planted before Zacchaeus was ever born, was purposefully sown to correspond with his future needs. It was all part of God’s intent for the tax collector’s life.
Fulfilling His Purposes
God uses us to fulfill His purposes. He orchestrates everything to bring glory to His Kingdom, including planting a Ficus sycomorus seed for short Zacchaeus.
Several years ago, I donned jewelry for a trip to the doctor. I don’t wear much anymore, especially bracelets. But that day, my appointment was for my yearly breast-cancer checkup. I am an 18-year survivor.
That morning, I placed a sparkly charm bracelet with the breast cancer symbol dangling from the beads on my wrist. The bracelet, a gift from a friend, made me think of her. However, as I drove to my appointment, I felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge. I wasn’t supposed to keep the bracelet.
God Has the Best Plan
Entering the cancer center, I prayed for God’s guidance. After checking in, I had my blood drawn, and then endured a mammogram. Walking through the halls, I scanned the faces of those around me. My spirit didn’t quicken. I fiddled with the bracelet. Disappointed I hadn’t found the right person, I prepared to leave.
While heading to the exit, I bumped into an elderly couple I’d known for more than 10 years. They were waiting on their daughter, who was battling cancer. Immediately, I knew she was the one. Her parents introduced us when she appeared. Giving her a hug, I slipped the bracelet on her wrist and explained the nudge of the Holy Spirit. Both of us began to cry and I promised to keep her in my prayers.
Driving home, I marveled at the direction my day had taken. I’d never planned to wear the bracelet that morning. But even before I knew someone would need it more than me, God had provided the gift. That’s just how He works.
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. (See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.) When she isn’t writing, she can be found spending time with her seven grandchildren, working in her yard, volunteering, shooting photos, hiking, going on mission trips and playing with her spoiled rotten dog, Harley.