Established By God - Draw the Circle

Established by God

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9

It may feel like you are sitting still right now, but you are not. You are on a planet that is rotating on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour. Like clockwork, it makes one full revolution every twenty-four hours. And if that isn’t amazing enough, planet Earth is moving around the sun at speeds approaching 67,000 miles per hour! So the next time you feel like you’ve had an unproductive day, remind yourself that you did travel more than 1.5 million miles through space today.

Now let me ask you a question: When was the last time you lost sleep because you were concerned about the Creator keeping the planets in orbit? When was the last time you got down on your knees at night and prayed, “Lord, thanks for keeping the planet rotating. I wasn’t sure if we’d make the full rotation today, but You did it again!” I’m guessing the answer to these questions is never.

We don’t doubt God’s ability to keep the planets in orbit, but we have a difficult time believing He can keep our lives in orbit. You tell me which is more difficult — keeping the planets in orbit or determining our steps? The truth is that we already trust God for the big things; now we need to trust Him for the little things, like healing our cancer, getting us out of debt, helping us conceive, or helping us find our soul mate. I’m certainly not suggesting that any of these situations are small. They are giant mountains to us. But prayer can turn them into molehills!

God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is also great because nothing is too small. The Sovereign One cares about every minute detail of our lives.

Every act of obedience, no matter how small, makes our heavenly Father proud. Every act of faith — even a faith as small as a mustard seed — puts a smile on His face. Every sacrifice, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us, makes a difference.

Like a proud parent watching their child take their first steps, God rejoices over every baby step. And He can turn those small steps of faith into giant leaps.

Divine Assignment

I have a handful of prayers I pray all the time. Because of their frequent repetition, I call them prayer mantras. One is that God will put my books into the right hands at the right time. I’ve prayed this prayer thousands of times, and God has answered it in dramatic fashion countless times. The right book in the right hands at the right time can save a marriage, avert a mistake, demand a decision, plant a seed, conceive a dream, solve a problem, and prompt a prayer. That’s why I write. And that’s why, for me, a book sold is not a book sold; a book sold is a prayer answered. I don’t know the name and situation of every reader, but God does, and that’s all that matters.

The other day I got an e-mail from Peter, a man who started reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day on a flight to Las Vegas. During the first half of his flight, he read chapter 1 and felt challenged and convicted. One sentence arrested his attention: “God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time, but it’s up to us to see and seize those opportunities that are all around us all the time.” So Peter switched planes in Phoenix and sat down in his new seat assignment. He said hello to the girl next to him, but she shut him down rather abruptly. It was one of those looks that says, Don’t talk to me the rest of this flight, and by the way, the armrest belongs to me! Peter didn’t want to offend her or bother her, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. He knew he needed to swallow his pride, face his fears, and seize the opportunity. He leaned over and said, “I know it’s absolutely none of my business, but you seem so burdened. If sharing it with a complete stranger might help, I’m all ears.”

The seventeen-year-old girl, who was three months pregnant, proceeded to tell him she was running away from home. Her boyfriend told her to take off and “take care of it.” She had stolen her dad’s credit card that morning to buy a ticket to Vegas to get an abortion. During the flight, Peter spoke words of comfort and encouragement. When they landed in Vegas, he convinced the girl to call her parents, who were worried sick. Her parents convinced her to grab the next flight and come home.

I’m quite sure one life, perhaps two, were saved that day! All because one man believed that a seat assignment might be a divine assignment. And when we act on those prayer promptings, the Grandmaster can use a single pawn to checkmate the enemy’s plans.

At the end of his e-mail, Peter thanked me for writing the book. He wrote, “So that’s what happened after chapter 1. I can’t wait to see what happens after chapter 2!” Me too! All I know is this: God is setting up divine appointments all the time. Only God can make the appointment, but only you can keep the appointment. It’s your job to recognize and respond to the God-ordained opportunities that come your way.


Few promises are more circled in my Bible than Proverbs 16:9: “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

God wants us to get where God wants us to go more than we want to get where God wants us to go. And He is awfully good at getting us there. All we have to do is follow the script of Holy Scripture and the improvisation of the Holy Spirit.

We can’t create divine appointments. All we can do is keep them.

We can’t plan God-ordained opportunities. All we can do is seize them.

We can’t perform miracles. All we can do is pray for them.

Our job is to hear His voice. His job is to establish our steps. And if we do our job, God will do His!

The Hebrew word kûn, translated in Proverbs 16:9 as “establishes,” can also be translated as “determines,” “prepares,” “provides,” “sets in place,” “directs,” “firmly decides,” “makes secure.” It’s a meticulous word that involves careful planning right down to the smallest detail. It’s a redemptive word that celebrates God’s ability to redeem past experiences and recycle them for future opportunities. It’s a calming word that imparts confidence in the fact that God has everything under control. It’s a creative word that hints at the beauty of God’s artistry.

God is the Composer. Your life is His musical score.

God is the Artist. Your life is His canvas.

God is the Architect. Your life is His blueprint.

God is the Writer. You are His book.

God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is also great because nothing is too small.

From the Book:

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Draw the Circle
By Mark Batterson

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