“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
It’s all too easy to get into the cycle of our lives and forget about God and His plans for us. We tend to plan our lives, days, weeks, even years ahead of time, not even knowing what the future is going to bring. The fact that God is omniscient-that He knows everything-both gives me comfort and to be honest can aggravate me too. He knows the end from the beginning of everything (Isaiah 46:10). From the beginning of time to the end of time. From the beginning of our lives (time of conception) to our last breath.
Wouldn’t it be nice to get a bit of a warning on some of the issues of our lives?! I had asked this same question in a sermon I gave a few years ago…Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a copy of God’s itinerary for our lives? To know when issues are going to come along…relationship difficulties, health issues, financial stresses…the list can go on. And to know when the end of that difficulty is going to come…Only three months and the relationship difficulties will be fixed…in a few weeks an unexpected check is going to come in the mail…At least then we would see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ We would know how long we need to endure those trials. It may make those times a little more doable. Maybe.
But, that’s not reality. It’s not reality for a few reasons. Often, the trials we go through, God uses to strengthen us. To refine us. Really think back in your life. What times made you who you are, made you stronger? The happy, easy going times? Or the struggles and trials? I’ll bet, if I was a betting woman, that more often than not is was the trials that helped you grow. Grow stronger, both emotionally and spiritually.
But I wonder…How often do we turn to God during the good times? It tends to be a lot less than when we face hard times. We don’t seem to really need Him. We take for granted all the blessings that He has provided for us. Each new day, just to start. Then, when we start going through an issue, we turn to Him-wanting an immediate response. AND we want the response WE want. Not what He knows is best for us.
I’m so thankful that He still listens to our prayers. Because really-How would you be with someone that reached out to you only when they had an issue, needing to vent? When things are good in their life it seems like you don’t exist. Would you continue, over and over again, to pick up the phone with a happy attitude or would you begin to resent their limited need of you? In reality most people would likely begin to back off the relationship. Yet God keeps His arms open wide, His ears ready to hear our prayers and petitions. Always giving us what is best for us.
I’m finally learning to turn to Him in all times-well most times. The last few years have really taught me this. A series of events began that were extremely difficult for me emotionally and spiritually. It seemed like once one thing was handled another item came along. From my son entering the military, my daughter needing surgery, my mother in-law becoming ill (and going home to God), to my dad falling and breaking his hip-which turned out to be the beginning of the end for his time with us. It was an extremely emotional two years. During this time I saw God work. I saw Him, felt Him, work in my life. As an example, when my son signed his papers to enter the military-to say it was difficult for me would be an understatement-I woke early one morning sobbing. I couldn’t stop. It was early fall and I went out onto my deck, fell to my knees…all I could say is “God I can’t do this, I need you to take this from me.” I instantly felt peace. He let me know that this was His plan and my son would be ok. And He did the same for when my daughter suddenly needed surgery and He gave me peace with the loss of my mother in-law and my father.
Prior to this stressful time period I had interviewed for a promotional position. I was extremely disappointed in not getting the job-although I can say honestly that I am thrilled that this particular person got the promotion-God knew that it was best for me not to receive the job. I couldn’t see it then but I see it clear as day now. If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to take the time to be with my family during all those difficult times. Since then I have interviewed for several other positions…I have not been promoted as of yet. I thankfully can say now, it’s ok. When I get the no, I allow myself a five minute pity party (I’m human and get disappointed), then I thank God for knowing what is best for me and I move on. And He gives me peace.
God knows what is best for us. He knows the in’s and out’s of every possible choice that we make, of everything that happens to us. We may not always get to see or understand why He’s allowed certain things to happen in our lives-the hurts, disappointments, the losses. But we can know that His ways are always better than our ways. That’s why it’s important to go to Him with our day to day lives. To be in prayer to Him. To be in His word. It is only then that we can begin to know His voice. To know that what we are being guided to is not against His word.
*The consequences from choices we may make that are against His will are on us, not Him. If we didn’t go to Him with the particular situation, how can we blame Him when things go wrong? Yet, many do exactly that.*
Then there are terrible things that happen that are not ‘consequences’ of bad choices. I am thankful to be able to see how God can still work in those situations. There are many examples of people that have done just that. Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore and one of the pastors at my church as examples-all publicly share that they were abused as children. I cannot think of anything that could be worse. Yet, they have allowed God to work in their lives and they are each sharing that with others.
The Word tells us that it is important to shine the light in the darkness. You see, Satan wants you to keep the secrets, to keep feeling the shame, the guilt. That is not what God wants. He wants you to come to Him with the good, the bad and the ugly-and allow Him to help you through it. Allowing Him to shine the light of His love, grace and mercy into the dark corners of our lives and let Him work. Trusting Him.
‘Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12
I pray that He will work wonders in your life.
In Jesus’ precious name.