31st October 2023

I have plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Do you have plans? I often do, but they usually do not come to fruition. Do not get me wrong, it is good to have plans, good to think things through, but we must be flexible as things do not always go the way we had planned; sometimes there is a better way, and sometimes a more important thing comes up first. Recently, my calendar was full every day with appointments, but then we all got sick and I had to cancel them all. I had plans, but something unplanned came up.

At the beginning of Jeremiah 29, God lays out his plans for those captive in Babylon, to bring them back to Jerusalem, to rebuild their lives, and rebuild their land. This will all hinge on those whom he sent back to follow and trust in him. They need to stay close to him in prayer; this connection is so vital in our lives. There will always be stumbling blocks put in our path, temptations that will draw us away, but we must remain focused on God and his plans for us because his plans are good for us.

Life is full of its bumps, and let us face it, deep pits as well. These are not what God had planned for us, but what we were dealt or what we brought on ourselves. Because mankind is greedy, it often leads us to the wrong places. What we all want is peace comfort and prosperity. We all want the basics of life: food, clean water, shelter, warm clothes, oh, and that bathroom nearby. God does not promise us that everything in our lives will go perfectly as we had planned, but he does walk with us, and experiences the things we do, as he dwells in us by his Spirit. What comfort it is to know that he is nearby, to know that he will be our strength, our guide.

There have been troubles ever since Adam and Eve made that wrong choice to follow their own lead instead of trusting in God’s. God, as spoken in Jeremiah 29, wants to give us prosperity, a future, and hope. He did then for the Israelites, and he does for us all now as well. Not only do wrong choices affect us, but also those around us. Over the last week or so we have seen many who are bearing the wrong, selfish choices of others. There have always been wars, droughts, earthquakes, floods, and many natural and manmade disasters. May God have mercy on us all! And he does have mercy! God has plans for us, good plans. I have no doubt that God will follow up on those plans, but until he does, we will need to endure the times we live in. But we don’t have to endure them alone.

I will be with you always God tells us in Matthew 28:20. Isaiah 41:9-10 says, “I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” God holds us by the hand and walks with us through our storms. We will endure the rain, but at the end of the storm is a rainbow. A rainbow is our joy that the storm is over, and a reminder to God of our fragility and need for him.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your love and good plans for us. Thank you for holding our hands in times of trouble and remaining close by our sides. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Study by Anne Gillam

About the writer:
Anne Gillam is a retired Pastor in Grace Communion International, Klamath Falls, Oregon, USA.

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