"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
Over the last week, this Bible verse keeps coming up over and over again. It has come up in church services, books I've been reading, and even websites I've pulled up. I almost feel as though God's trying to drive it in big time, reminding me that no matter what, He knows what's coming next. Every time I see this verse, I read it, then I read it again, slowly. And in my mind, I picture a man speaking these words to me, and it has such a calming effect on me. It makes me smile.
Just think about it. We spend so much of this life planning for the future. When we are young, we go to school and learn, learn, learn so that we can go to college. Then, when we are in college we are learning some more so that we can get a career. Once we get into the work force it's usually a series of jobs, a progression into better and better positions, and the whole time we're working,we're setting money aside, preparing for marriage, kids, home buying, and eventually retirement. Whew! And then (lucky us) we get to start the process all over again by having children, and needing to have them prepared for each stage of life. It's a crazy cycle, and so many times, I think we get so focused on the future, so focused on the planning ahead that we forget that we don't have to drive ourselves crazy with all this planning. Sure, proper planning is important, but it doesn't have to be so focused- it doesn't have to drive everything we do!
Instead, we can rest and relax some, knowing that God is in charge. It is such a comfort to know that especially when our plans don't turn out as we expect. As I continue to read this verse though, my favorite part happens to be the part where it says that God's plans are not to harm us, but rather, to PROSPER us. Just for giggles, I looked up the word prosper in the dictionary, and it says that prosper means "to succeed in an enterprise or activity, especially :to achieve economic success." Or, "to become strong and flourishing". As I read those definitions, it doesn't say anything about floundering first. It simply says to succeed or become strong. It doesn't say "after much trial and error, then you succeed or become strong".
God's plans are to prosper us, give us hope, and give us a future. I love reading that over and over, because the more I read it, the more I say it to myself, the more it builds up my faith for the future. The more I hear this "God Voice" saying that He has plans for prosperity, the more I actually believe what it is saying to me! And I do believe it! I believe wholeheartedly that God has plans to prosper us, because if he didn't, he wouldn't place all these desires in us to give that prosperity away. There are so many ministries that we would love to support, people who we would love to bless with a little something, and charities who are near and dear to our hearts- but first we need the prosperity to do so.
"And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9
God knows the desires of our hearts, and He also knows what the future holds for us. Just thinking on that, just dwelling on those different verses fills me with all sorts of joy, and it makes me want to run around and tell everyone that God has great plans for us! The best part of all this is that those verses in the Bible are not just meant for me! They are meant for all of His children! I believe that the time is coming when it is no longer going to be the Christians who are poor and struggling. Instead, we as Christians are going to be favored and prospered, and we are going to be able to help those who need it- and also be able to show them the love of Christ while we help them.
We are in for an exciting ride, and the devil would love it if I would just sit here and dwell on the past, and dwell on the present, and dwell on the potential bad that the future might hold. Instead, every time I start thinking in a negative light, I think about God telling me "I know the plans I have for you." And all those negative thoughts just fly out the window. I'm looking forward to seeing what God's plans are.