” I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:11
There are many promises that God has made to His people. If I took them one by one and dwelt on them, my mind and perspective would change. When my mind changes my life changes. But, far too often I take them in quickly like eating at a drive through fast-food restaurant. If I get hungry enough my attitude is….anything, just give me anything and quick…my blood sugar is low, my mental tank is empty and I need a burger or burrito now! I eat as fast as I drove through the order lane, moving quickly on to the next thing. My blood sugar gets stabilized in the moment and my stomach gets full, but that’s about it…a quick refill. Without the left over wrappers in my car, I might even forget what I ate at the drive through!
Do I do this with God? Am I looking for a quick refuel and then forget what he said to me hours later?
God’s Word has promises that can refuel us for life too. We can take them in when our spiritual blood sugar is low, wolfing them down and forgetting quickly what we just read. Or, we can savor the promises and linger with them all day long, snacking, if you will, on truth nuggets throughout the day. The first will get the Word into us but we may quickly exhale and it’s out of sight and mind again. The later will get God’s word into us and it will continue feeding us and encouraging us all day long. The second method stabilizes us for life.
I found this out by accident many years ago. I was clinically depressed after a heartbreaking divorce. I was lost. Yes, I knew Jesus but nothing of His word meant much to me anymore because I felt betrayed even by God. I had prayed for my marriage to be healed and was served divorce papers. During this time I was not a candidate for antidepressant drugs and so I didn’t know what to do. The dark hole became darker and I was hopeless. Then this verse popped into my thinking ” He sent his word and healed them” Psalm 107:20. My Bible still has 1989 written next to this verse. I admit, at the time, I wasn’t impressed. I knew God’s word, had been in full-time church ministry for 12 years, taught women’s bible studies and was not healed but depressed. When my life took an unexpected turn, it seemed as if everything was pulled out from under me. Without meds being an option, it seemed God was all I had to bank on. My prayer went something like...God if you are real and your word is real, then use the truths to heal me…amen!
I began sitting in one portion of Scripture at a time. I talk about my journey in my book, Deeper and if you are interested in hearing more, click here:
But for today let me tell you where I am in this present moment. I am at that stage of life where things are changing. I feel like I am 40 but my birth certificate says I am just about 60. I used to be identified just as Mommy but now I am GiGi, or Grammie. I used to be counted on as one with wisdom, but now I seem to be counted just as old. My life has changed dramatically in the past 4 years. I am not suggesting it is bad, but I can tell you this; each season of life needs its own special kind of grace. And, in each season of life, God has a plan for each of us personally and individually. If we get stuck in the changes, we will miss the plan and miss the beauty of today’s grace. It doesn’t matter what season we are in, we all need the same thing, to learn to live within the truth of His promises.
So today I find myself sitting in, Jeremiah 29:11-14,23. I am fully aware that many of you know this passage because it is a “class favorite” right? But what if we believed it? Really believed it? Let it nourish our fears and calm our hearts?
“I know what I am planning for you, says the LORD. I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will bring you back from captivity.” NCV
This one single passage assures us of these things:
- God has a plan for us individually
- His plan is to advance us not to hurt us
- His plan is to instill hope in our hearts and give us assurance for the future
- His plan is to bring us to a place of calling out to him and praying to him
- He promises to be listening
- When we call out to him, we will find him
- When we find him, we are brought out of all places of bondage and despair
I can hear you…but…..I have gone through some really bad stuff, this is all fluff!
No, it’s not fluff, it’s truth. Verse 23 says that He has been a witness to all the things that have been done, even those ugly things against us. He is a witness to our circumstances and situations. He is with us. It is in the middle of these ugly real life things that God is working. Our part? We are to call out to him and believe what he has promised us. In a nutshell what has been promised? That He is always with us, always for us and has a plan and purpose for each of us. Has he promised that nothing will hurt us? Nope. But He has let us know that all the hurts in this world can not separate us from his love for us. Paul even says in Romans 8:
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Thinking back all those years to those divorce papers…it felt like life was against me, my husband was against me, the people who served the papers against me. I didn’t believe for a moment that I would really ever recover, the wound too deep, the rejection too severe. But I did. And, not only did I recover from it but God in His love for me, taught me a lot about forgiveness and loving others who are imperfect just like me. In the middle of my pain, I called out to God and he answered me. In the middle of hard I found the beauty of His love for me. Finding His unconditional love for me, helped me with loving other too. None of us are perfect.
Here’s the deal friends….life this side of heaven is going to be hard at times. Our daily lives are based on a true story of imperfection. That is hard to swallow in a world that teaches us to pretty every thing up and aim for the perfect everything. That is not real. The true story is filled with lots of ugly spaces as well as the beautiful moments. We are going to feel defeated, confused, betrayed, lonely and sad. All of this is part of the human condition. What are we to do in the face of such feelings? I have been learning for many years that the best antidote when I am down is learning how to Live UP.
I can live under my problems…and so can you.
Or, I can learn to live upon the promises of God….and so can you.
One will cause defeat. The other will bring peace.
Today find a portion of Scripture to sit with. Try copying the page on your home copier, writing it on an index card, or texting it in the notes or reminders on your smartphone ( anything that keeps it near to you for viewing throughout the day). Ask God to make it new to your heart and mind. Roll it over your mind all day long. Take it apart and think about it as you go on your way. Let it nourish you all day long.
I’d love to hear what God speaks to you!