For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV Recently I spent a late night filling out permit applications, scouring topo maps, and perusing multiple online hiking sites, as I planned the itinerary for our upcoming summer camps in Northern New Mexico. A host of questions went through my mind as I tried to visualize what conditions will be like and how to best craft an experience months in advance. “What will the snow level be like this year?” “Will we be able to find water here?” “Is this the best spot for a suitable campsite?” “How difficult will the terrain be?” At the beginning of summer, after the snow is well on it’s way receding down the majestic peaks and exposing lush green meadows, our guides and I will head to the high country and scout our proposed routes. Then we will be able to answer many of these questions and make decisions about how best to facilitate experiences for our groups. Even then, only one thing is certain, nothing will ever go exactly to plan. This uncertainty is something I treasure about the wilderness experience. It is important to lay down good structure and ground work to the best of one’s ability, but ultimately the wilderness cannot be controlled and refuses to be tamed. Scripture speaks a great deal to the importance of proper planning, but a focused study quickly makes it abundantly clear that Man’s plans are not where our hope lies. We can anticipate and set goals for the future, but ultimately the Lord is in control. The future He has set out for us is always greater than we can possibly imagine. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut thinking about what should be or what might have been, but the incredible life giving promise the Lord has made for those who are in Christ Jesus is that He has plans to prosper us and give us hope and a future. We should consult the map, continually praying for wisdom and guidance, but ultimately we can have a deep abiding assurance that God’s plans will not be thwarted. This allows us to follow Him into the wild lands with great confidence and a sense of freedom knowing that He is leading and guiding every step of the way. May your plans be grounded in the rock solid truth that His are always better, and He is lovingly and caringly setting your course.