“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. 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 seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 29:11-14a.
I find it interesting in our Western culture that we are so time- and plan-oriented. Years ago I spent four weeks in Tanzania and learned quickly that time was not looked upon the same way as here in the States….people didn’t obsess about time the way we do. A church service could go two hours. It may start or end sooner or later than we thought. I quit wearing a watch sometime into my trip because time didn’t have much meaning. The sun came up, it went down, people planned their lives around the day. They lived a day at a time. It was truly a breath of fresh air to not be a slave to time. When I came home, I tried going for awhile without a watch. I just looked at the clock in my car, but eventually found myself looking at clocks in other places, and finally, defeated, I strapped that watch back to my wrist.
I think we can also be a slave to planning. I am an extraordinary planner. I like planning and have been in jobs where I had to have plans laid out for an entire year. I have come to realize that yes, we do need to do some planning, but also that planning is my way of being in control. Of running my life. And when plans don’t go as I thought, I am disappointed or upset.
Jeremiah the prophet gave this message to the exiles in Babylon, and I think it rings true for us today. I think an inner security we have as humans is to know that someone has a plan. But who? I like this verse, because it puts the control in God’s hands instead of mine. The Lord declares He has a plan for my life. And it’s a good plan, to give me hope and a future! I need to call upon Him and seek him in prayer, and when I seek with my whole heart, I will find Him. I have spent years praying for God’s plan to be evident, and have come to understand that He reveals it little by little. Kind of like a folded-up paper being opened a little at a time, one corner here, one corner there. God’s plan is so much bigger than my own, so much more beautiful, why wouldn’t I want Him to be in control?
I think of these verses as our country struggles with great divides, anger, lies, and that old fear in me rises up–“Who has a plan for our country?” But as I focus on God, the fear subsides. God has a plan for you, me, our families, our country, and our world. God sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem our world. That is His master plan. How that unfolds for us each day is what we need to discover. Be comforted that as we seek Him with our whole heart, He will reveal it to us.
Prayer-“Lord, you have a plan for me. I don’t always know what it is, but I will trust you to reveal it to me. Place your Holy Spirit in my heart so that I will surrender control of my life so you can reveal your perfect and loving plan. Give me a heart that seeks YOU first, and I trust your promise that I will indeed find you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”