I thought it might be a good idea to share with you one of my favourite bible verses. It is one of those verses that is really comforting, and helps you get through the struggles in life.
"'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'"
It sound nice doesn't it. But in fact, it was actually written in one of the scariest books in the bible. It comes from Jeremiah 29:11, just chapters after God pronounced his judgement on Israel. Just after God sent the Babylonians to capture the Israelites. Israel was plundered by the Babylonians. They were forced to leave to a foreign land. They lost everything, their country was destroyed, their possessions taken, and their traditions ignored.
Then comes this message from God. They still have hope! God has planned all along, taken care of them all the time. He is going to make them prosper! They now have a future to look forward to!
There was actually another story happening in the background. Many Israelites were planning for a revolution. To throw off their oppressors, to make themselves independent again. Imagine what they would have thought once they heard God's message. God was planning for their future! God wanted them to be free! They had God on their side!
Jeremiah steps in then, with another message from God. Don't revolt, but seek peace in Babylon. That is the future God has planned for you. The Israelites must have been surprised. They thought God was supporting their bid for freedom, but no, he wanted them to stay? What kind of plan was that? In fact, God's plan was on a much bigger scale than theirs. The Israelites could still do great things in Babylon. In another book (Daniel) it tells of Babylonian kings who turned to the living God, because of the Israelites. God wanted the Israelites to learn to trust him even in the hard times.
That was really all boring history actually, so what does that have to do with us? Why is it my favourite bible verse?
I used to be in a stage where I loved saying "God is in control". Whenever life was not working out, I thought "God is in control, he will sort things out." I got that from Job, where after he went through intense suffering, he still got all his possessions back and more. But looking at this story, I was totally wrong. Sometimes things just don't turn out at all. We lose something, and never find it again, we lose our job and are forced to go hungry days on end, we become lonely and never seem to find any friends, or we lose a loved one who we know will never be brought back to life.
How do we cope when we lose something we know we will never get back, how do we go on living life? We need to remember that verse, and know that there is a hope far bigger than worldly things we desire so much. We need to trust in God's plans, not to fix our problems completely, but to use our weaknesses to glorify him.
A person I trust put how we should view God's plans very effectively. "As Christians, we do not believe that God is on our side, but that we are graciously allowed to support God's side"
So I want you to remember Jeremiah 29:11, not to charge through all your problems in life, but so that you can lift all your problems to God, to see what he has planned with them.