As Paul planned his second missionary campaign (Acts 15:36), little did he know that his long-standing partnership would disintegrate, the first two targeted mission fields would be blocked, his customary strategy of initiating the work in synagogues would be unsuitable at the first location, he would be forced to prematurely leave the first three mission points, and he would face other unanticipated disruptions all along the way (Acts 15:37–18:17). Paul still made definite plans, but he was flexible enough to deal with unforeseen circumstances as they arose, while he trusted that all things would ultimately work together for good (Acts 18:21; Romans 8:28).
God works through fallible human instruments and expects us to actively participate. But none of us is smart enough to think through everything in advance. People and circumstances are unpredictable. There is always an element of uncertainty, requiring adaptability and adjustment. Despite the inevitable challenges, when we have done our imperfect best, even if we fall short, God fulfills his purpose. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NKJV).
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