Of Mice and Men

by Terri Gillespie

The heart of man plans his course, but Adonai directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 TLV

Have you ever heard of the saying, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?” It is from the poem To the Mouse, by the 18th-century Scottish author, Robert Burns. The poem describes the story of a field mouse who carefully builds a winter nest in a wheat field, only to have it tilled over by a young farmer.

In the mouse’s small world, her location for the nest seemed perfect. In the young man’s broad world, there was nothing standing in the way of tilling the soil. Both plans were shortsighted due to their imperfect understanding of the world around them.

As I thought about the story, I realized sometimes we’re the mouse and sometimes we’re the farmer. Whatever our plans, they are fragile in the light of eternity and our Heavenly Father’s kingdom. They are flimsy in the face of evil.

Sometimes we have no idea just how big the world around us is, and how any given circumstance will affect our plans. Other times, we may know more of how the world works, but there are other things at work we can’t see. And, how easy it is to run over others — unintentionally or intentionally — to accomplish our goals.

We may seek the Lord for our plans, or He may implant a passion and vision in our heart we long to fulfill. He may even give us a release to proceed with plowing the field, but because we are flawed — and not omniscient — we can go off course or not pay attention to the nests of others around us.

The little mouse was not wrong in building a winter nest, it was her choice of locations that crushed the plan. On the other hand, it was necessary for the farmer to plow the field to plant his wheat; however, he destroyed the plans of the mouse.

When we have a delay in our plans, it can cause us to doubt we heard from God, but there may be something else at work. Therefore, the second half of Proverbs 16:9 (TLV) is so important: …but Adonai directs his steps.

If we go off course — if our location is not where He wants us — He is there to redirect our steps. Or, He may have us slow down or linger to show us the mouse nest and how to avoid it.

It takes faith to be open to altering our course, even if it’s uncomfortable or frustrating. Because even in the discomfort, we can be assured He will get us to our destination. His plans never go awry.

If we’re feeling frustrated or discouraged because our plans and visions are not going as we thought—as we thought we heard from the Lord—then perhaps there is a mouse nest we might destroy, or the season is not right for us to begin plowing the field. We don’t want to be the oblivious farmer or the foolish mouse. We want God’s will, right?

Heavenly Father, I can’t help the feelings of discouragement and frustration right now. First, Father, confirm the vision or plan you showed me. Then help me see if I’m running over someone else’s vision or if the season isn’t right. But above all else, I pray for Your will to be done—not mine. In Your Son’s Name. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

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About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, because of His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, released in October. https://authorterrigillespie.com/terri-gillespie-books/sweet-rivalry/

Sweet Rivalry

Sweet Rivalry, the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. They discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry break them apart again?

Join the conversation: Are you experiencing a big fail and don’t know why? Please share.


12 thoughts on “Of Mice and Men

    1. This has been a very difficult field, dear Priscilla. I pray the LORD will release you to ploy that field!


  1. Terri, this is such a great post. It reminds me of a time when I waited so long, I thought God had forgotten me. Then when the answer came, I understood His timing was perfect. Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! We wait. We wait. We wait. Then — boom — it seems to happen overnight! Thanks for your encouragement!


  2. Don’t you love those gentle “I told you so” moments. I have a feeling we’ll spend a great bit of eternity seeing those. Thanks, Patti.


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