This is impossible.

I can’t afford to send another kid to college.

There’s no way she can give up her job.

We just finished remodeling this house and now we’ll have to add another bedroom—no way.

I’ve finally got enough cash set aside to make a down payment on that sailboat I’ve dreamed about for 20 years.

I’m getting way too old to be a new dad; by the time the kid is 18 I’ll be…

I’ll be watching Little League games from a walker.

She knows I hate my job, but how could I leave it now?

I’m not about to sacrifice her health for this pregnancy.

A healthy child is hard enough; I can’t possibly handle a special-needs child.

At one time or another, these thoughts and others like them run through the mind of a man who is faced with the reality of an unplanned pregnancy. As the father of seven children, I have been asked many times if all of my children were planned. My response is: Yes, my wife told me she was pregnant, and I started planning. A wise man told me recently that life is what happens when you have other plans

The world continues to sell us the idea that the “intelligent” and “together” people are the ones who have planned out the details of their lives and then live by those plans. To not have a plan is ridiculous. Daytimer and Franklin Covey have made fortunes selling this idea. Financial advisors, realtors, physicians, retirement specialists and insurance companies all derive substantial earnings from variations on this idea.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that you should throw out the concept of planning. On the contrary, planning in most cases is a wise approach. The problem is the motivation for planning.

The people selling us on the planning-every-aspect-of-life idea generally use two primary motivators: fear and selfishness. Think about it for a minute. You plan primarily to get some personal benefit, either directly or indirectly, and you plan because you are afraid something bad may happen. That can be both selfishness and fear at work in your life.

There were a couple successful farmers who made a plan to expand their businesses into some new locations. As they sat around planning their future success, they hired an architect to design and build a number of large warehouses. They could see the profit piling up just as it had been for the last few years. After signing all of the contracts the two men headed home, and they couldn’t stop talking about how they were going to live the life of leisure, travel the world and enjoy the luxury that their fortunes would afford them. Unfortunately, both farmers died in an auto accident on their way home that very evening.

This story is similar to one found in the Bible in the book of Luke. God calls the farmer a fool for storing up for himself rather than figuring out what it meant to be rich toward God. We can also find a clear example of how fear keeps us from following God’s plan in the story of the talents found in the book of Matthew.

Whenever God presents an opportunity for us to partner with Him, our enemy plays to our fear and selfishness to dissuade us. From there we begin to doubt God, and specifically doubt His love for us. “If God really loved us He wouldn’t let bad things happen to us. And since bad things do happen to us, it must prove that God doesn’t really love us or He isn’t big enough to cause a different outcome.” Unfortunately, those are bad assumptions.

The truth of the matter is that God does love us immeasurably and He is big enough to change everything. But He has placed us in an unfriendly environment that is full of bad things and worse possibilities. He has placed us here as foreigners in a distant land so that we can be living proof that God will walk with His children through everything, good or bad, so that the foreigners will see Him as He truly is. The foreigners have nowhere else to turn but to themselves; they may be motivated by their fear and their selfishness, or they may be blissfully ignorant of and oblivious toward the ugliness of the world.

It is absolutely normal for a man to have the thoughts I mentioned earlier; they are the voice of the world from within and without. The thought that should prevail, however, is one that comes from Home. “I will walk with you through every trial and adversity. I will protect you and provide for you in ways you have never even imagined. I love you and no power can take you from that love.” Genuine faith is believing this and demonstrating that belief by acting as if you believe it. It is unbelief to say you believe it but then act as if you don’t.

The thoughts of our mind often are from the world’s voice speaking to us. The thoughts from our heart are the words spoken by the voice of our Father. Which voice are you listening to?