God Has a Plan
I recently read a blog by a fresh-out-of-college graduate asking Christians to quit telling him God has a plan for him. While I get it, that those words are often uttered as a platitude, his comments troubled me. Perhaps it is where we are in life that accounts for our difference in perspective. If he is the average age college graduate, I am more than twice his age; I have the advantage of more experience in seeing God work. I am not saying his viewpoint is wrong, but from my standpoint, I know God does indeed have a plan.
"For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for
calamity to give you a future and a hope." ~ Jeremiah 29:11
God gave this promise to His people when they were in exile. They were in a foreign land. They were miserable. Life was difficult. They were discouraged and had no idea what the future held. Countless times in my life I have faced situations where I could relate to their misery, difficulties and discouragement. I couldn’t see resolution. I didn’t know how things would turn out.
The first time I heard Jeremiah 29:11, I was sitting in a divorce recovery class. While I had been listening to the instructor, I was doodling on the handout trying to figure out how I was going to survive. From where I was emotionally, no matter how hard I tried, I could not envision life after divorce. When the instructor read the Scripture, the words penetrated my thoughts; I stopped doodling.
God had a plan? For my future? There was hope? The words were a balm to my wounded heart and offered great reassurance. If God had a plan for His people in exile, then He had a plan for me, for my future. A good plan meant there was order where I could only see chaos; hope where I could only see overwhelming desperation; and peace in the midst of turmoil. This wonderful truth was a game-changer for me, a turning point in the way I was coping with the failure of my marriage.
Over the years, in the midst of challenges, I have gone back to Jeremiah 29:11. Each time I have found renewed hope and encouragement. After reading the blogger’s comments, I realized when I do reference the Scripture, I need to include the verses that follow it: verses 12-13.
"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me
and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."
Like the exiles were instructed, I need to be actively praying, seeking and searching – with all my heart. I am to petition the Lord with my requests. I am to seek for the answers in His word and through wise, godly counsel. I am to search for Him with all my heart, having fully surrendered my own agenda, hopes and dreams. When I do, I will find Him. I will find direction. I will see the glorious revelation of His plan.
God’s thoughts and ways are mysterious (Isaiah 55:8). His timing is not my timing (Psalm 37:7). He doesn’t promise to say yes to my every request or to answer the first time I ask. However, His ways are trustworthy, faithful and good. He knows my future and what is best for me. He will work all things for my good (Romans 8:28).
So, I will not quit telling others – of any age - that God has a plan for their life. I will encourage them to pray, seek and search for the Lord with all of their heart. I will continue to testify of what the Lord has done in my own life. Because, God is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20). And that, my sweet friend, is a fact.