Margin Helps You Plan for Problems


When you don't prepare for bumps in the road, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Thinking ahead is the mark of wisdom.

“A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (Proverbs 22:3 TLB). 

We need margin in our lives, because it’s inevitable that we’re going to have problems in life.

Plans are good. The Bible says we ought to plan, and planning helps lead you in the right direction. But nothing ever goes as perfectly as planned, so you’re setting yourself up for big disappointment when you don’t prepare for bumps in the road.

I remember a number of years ago, I convinced my wife to go on a vacation without any planning. My entire life was planned. Almost every minute of my day had something planned in it. I needed a vacation from planning.

So, let’s just put the kids in the car and head off! It’ll be an adventure!

It sounded like a really good idea. We put the kids in our van, and we headed out across the desert with no idea where we were going. Kay calls this our pinball vacation.

The first night we arrived in Durango, Colorado, and slept in the car because there were no motels open in the whole city. 

The second night, we got to Denver, and there wasn’t a single motel room open in the city. How was I to know the annual rodeo was in town? It had been booked up for weeks. So we got back in the car again.

The third night we were in the No Tell Roach Motel in Dumptyville, Utah. This place was run by a gas station. The motel rooms were really battered, beaten-down trailers. The one we got had a screen door on it that was hanging on one hinge with the screen punched out so mosquitoes could come through, and little roaches were crawling across the ceiling. We got back in the car. 

It went like this until the last night on our way back home. I can remember sitting in a loud, smoky lounge in Las Vegas at 1 in the morning waiting for someone to check out so we could get a room. 

What a fun vacation!

The Bible tells us that thinking ahead is the mark of wisdom. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:3, “A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (TLB).

Why didn’t I see that verse before our vacation?! Don’t make the same mistake I did. Build margin into your life so that you have the perspective you need to anticipate problems and plan for them. 

  • Talk It Over
  • How does margin help you plan better for potential problems? 
  • Once you anticipate or perceive a potential problem, what can you do to better plan for it?
  • Why do you think God allows us to experience problems and difficulties in the life he meant for us to live?

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This devotional © 2016 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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