Trusting God’s Plan When We Want Comfort

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Many people, myself included, turn to Jeremiah 29:11 during times of suffering.  It is a beautiful piece of God’s Word, filled with an amazing promise for our lives. But are we clinging to this verse, hoping that God will wave some sort of magic wand and instantly take away all or our pain and suffering?  I personally haven’t read anywhere in the Bible where God plays the part of magician, friend.

To really understand the beauty of the message, we need to look back  a few verses to see what was happening in sixth century B.C.

If we start back at Jeremiah 29 :4 -7 God is telling His people, whom He had exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon, make this place your home. Then in verse 7 He says, “ Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

God is saying, trust me here folks, I know what I am doing? Stay put, make the best of it in this land by working hard, raising your families, worshiping me, and see what I can do.

Can you feel the frustration of God’s chosen people?  They want to go back to their “home” so desperately, but their Lord is saying, do not turn back to your comfort zone.  Believe in Me.  Have you ever been in this kind of situation?  Maybe not exiled to a foreign country, but a season in your life when you were trying something new, something out of your out of your comfort zone?  Or it could have been a big move across country to a new city like mine was ten years ago when God brought me kicking and screaming out of Texas to Kentucky!

Oh I was just like the Jews in Babylon, complaining how terrible the conditions were “out in the country” called Crestwood, KY. (It is actually very beautiful).  The house we rented didn’t have a disposal! What is a city girl to do!  Not to mention this house we rented was on something called a septic system?  What? I had to buy special toilet paper! Are you kidding me! The worst part, the closest mall was, at least, 20 miles or more away! “God get me out of the forsaken place!” (I actually said that out loud one day as I left a faculty meeting at the school where I was teaching. Not good.).  I wanted to run as fast as my short legs could take me back to Texas, my home for the past 20 years, my safe, familiar, home.  Not the plan, and I needed to find the real hope Jeremiah 29:11 was offering me.

Let’s get back to our story in Jeremiah 29, we left off at verse 8.

I love verses 8 and 9.  God tells His people,  these guys are coming around spreading lies about me.  They will call themselves “diviners” and “prophets”. What they will actually doing is tricking you into  believing  your hopes and desires are what God is calling you to do. However, the Lord says in verse 9, “I have not sent them.”  Basically, do not believe them, I am your God, trust me.

Even today in our lives, we have to watch out for these so-called “diviners”, telling us what we want to hear is God’s plan for us when in reality it just might be our own desires.  (More to come in January on knowing when we hear God’s calling).

Verse 10, “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”  Did he just say 70 years?  Yes He most certainly did.  Even in Sixth Century B.C, my friend, it was God’s timing not the timing of the people.

God wasn’t and isn’t going to just say, okay my chosen people, you don’t like Babylon so I will move you back to Jerusalem. (okay Jane Ann you don’t like Kentucky so I am moving you and your family back to Texas.)   No, that is not what our loving God does.  This is what he does, read on.

Now Jeremiah 29:11 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.

Read that verse again, this time though, put your name in place of the word “you”.

For I know the plans I have for ________,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper _____and not to harm ______, plans to give _______ hope and a future.

As believers in Christ Jesus, whose plans are these friend, ours or our Saviors?  Now here is the hope to cling to:

Listen in verses 12-14. as our Heavenly Father directs His people and us today.  I love these verses and if I could read them aloud to you it with be with the biggest smile on my face.  I imagine God with a big smile on His face and loving arms opened as he speaks:

Then you will call on 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, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29: 12-14 NIV)

God was going to take his chosen people back to Jerusalem, but not until they learned to persevere through the tough seasons of change, a season out of their comfort zone that would last 70 years.

God wants the same for us today. We  can have the hope that God is always with us no matter what season we are going through here on Earth.  When we call to Him he hears us. It is our job to persevere, have faith in His plan and timing.  He will deliver us  out of the season when He sees fit. We are not going to live out this life perfectly, because if we did we wouldn’t need a Savior, now would we?

By persevering  we will find we have more Joy than we could have ever imagined.  We will have learned more about ourselves and grown exponentially.  We will be prepared to help others when it is their season.

One more thing, friend, God will deliver us from this world one day too, that is part of His plan too.  For it is written in the Gospel of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Believe with me today, friend.  If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, say yes to Jesus today.

This is the hope of Jeremiah 29:11.

 

 

Calling God, Calling God!

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“Just keep moving”, was the distressed voice I heard coming behind me as my family and I started our Sunday journey through Wal-Mart. I thought I was a little wigged out from the experience with two kids and a husband,who had just driven the two-hour drive to see our son who is a Sophomore in college, trying to maneuver through the carts and crowd, but this dear lady had four kids ranging from upper tweens to lower twins!

I shot up a little prayer right then and there for that precious mom of four.  I asked God to keep her kids moving and for her stress to be relieved.  I never saw her again, but I know in my heart, God answered that prayer, because when we call, he answers.

Not twenty minutes later, I got a text from one of our other adult children who is trying to “do life” on his own will and accord.  As I am sure you can guess, it isn’t working out too great for him, but he is learning lots of lessons, the hard way, and this momma is learning a lot of “tough love” lessons in the meantime.  Well, this text went something like, “I am going to get something cheaper”.  He was referring to his car.  The car he had to have, the one he knew he could afford two jobs ago, 4 months ago.

Can anyone relate?

My blood pressure, which when I go to the doctor they usually take twice because it is so low, was rising rapidly.  I shot up a couple of prayers this time, one for myself asking God to give me peace to enjoy today with my family and our middle son who we came all this way to visit, and not to react to the one acting out of fear.  The second prayer was for the “Texter”.  I asked God to open his heart, which is a daily prayer, and to guide his lost soul to say no to the fear driven decisions he was wanting to make, and to say yes to God’s Will for him.

I called, God answered.  Peace.

A fun day was had by all.  Our middle son is the manager for the girl’s soccer team at his college.  Come to find out they were playing my husband’s Alma mater.  Centre College wins 3-1 over DePauw, sorry honey.  Way to go Colonels.

You might be thinking, “So you just left the one son hanging with the car decision to make while you went and had fun?”  My answer would be no I didn’t leave him hanging,  I left him with God.

God will take care of him when I call.  God will take care of you and me when we call.  He hears all of our prayers and he answers.

Now, it may not be instantly like my peace on Sunday.  Sometimes, most of the time, we wait patiently for an answer.  During September I am going to be writing about finding Joy and being patient. For me September is a time in which I tend to get a little impatient for the weather to turn cooler, waiting on autumn leaves to turn, and my favorite… wearing sweaters and sweatshirts.

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I hope you will join me each week in September and share my blog with your friends as we learn how find patience while waiting for answers.  He will answer when we call in our times of distress.  In the meantime, we can find Joy in today knowing that he hears us when we call.

 

 

 

 

Clarity

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Recently I went to the Optometrist for a new pair of glasses.  He asked me to look at a picture that was going to be blurry at first and I was to tell him when the picture was Phoropterclear.  He proceed to adjust the lenses of the Phoropter, (I love that word!) until the cloudy mass of colors clearly came into focus and answered the question I had been asking myself,  “I wonder what this is going to be?”   Are you too wondering what was going to appear before my eyes?  It was a hot air balloon, clear as day.

 

 

 

There are things in our lives today that aren’t clear to us.  Everyday we are seeking answers to questions that are not as easily found by a quick “Hey, Google” or “Alexa”. Honestly, we have Google and Alexa because we are like one of my favorite characters in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), Veruca Salt, who so impatiently said, “I 66347c69832bdee15b1fcb99a4b6370c.1000x562x1want it now!”  We are a society who wants answers fast, like yesterday.  However, these are not those kinds of questions. They are deep, soul seeking questions  that can be causing folks real stress and real turmoil in their lives.

 

Psalm 119:18 is like that Phoropter in my optometrists office, it is telling us to open our eyes, adjust our lenses to sharpen our focus on God’s word and the Will  He has already revealed to us.  We have to stay persistent, we have to keep seeking in His word, that is where we will find clarity to all our problems and the answers to these deep questions.

When we come to God and ask he will give: when we seek we will find; and when we knock, the door will open (Matthew 7:7). God will continue to reveal more to us and answer our questions in His time. Until then, we stay strong and keep asking Him for clarity in all our situations.  We keep seeking him for the truth daily.  My friend, I promise you, when we do this, doors will be opened.  We might  have to adjust our lenses to see it, but when we do, it is going to be AWESOME!

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What answers are you seeking today?  Ask God!  Seek God persistently!

Heavenly Father, Thank you for your Word  and the truth and clarity we find in it when we don’t stop seeking the answers to our heart’s questions.  Help us Jesus to open our eyes to see you and all of your amazing glory.  We give you thanks in all of our circumstances and know that you are with us.  Amen.