“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 NIV
I have heard this verse all my life, and I absolutely know that it is true. It was true when God said it to the nation of Israel regarding His plans to prosper them as a people group, and it is true for the individual soul today. Every day. But quite honestly, this verse has offered me little comfort in the past.
I know God has plans for me, and I know they are good plans. I’d just really like to know ahead of time what they are.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you wish you could see God’s plan and purpose for you all mapped out in 12 easy steps. Maybe God’s plan for you seems vague right now, and you wish He wasn’t quite so cryptic with everything. Maybe, like me, you were hoping that a little prayer was all it would take to get God to reveal all.
But God doesn’t work like that.
I once heard a story about Mother Teresa that I have never forgotten. There was a young man on a short-term mission trip to India. He was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet and work alongside Mother Teresa at her mission in Calcutta. At the end of his trip, Mother Teresa asked how she could pray for him. He asked her if she would please pray that God’s plan for his life would be revealed to him. Mother Teresa simply said, “No.” The man was visibly taken aback, so she continued,
No, I will not pray for that. But I will pray that you trust God even though you do not know His plan for you. I will pray that He grows your faith in His goodness and provision, and that He gives you grace to focus on the needs of others instead of yourself… because that is God’s plan for us all.
We do not get to know the master plan for our lives. Sometimes, if we humble ourselves in obedience and pray for guidance He will reveal to us the next step, and usually nothing more.
We do not get to know the master plan for our lives, but we do know the Master’s Plan for our souls. It is mapped out for us across the pages of His Word. I see it best in these three verses:
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humblywith your God. Micah 6:8 NKJV
… Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27
Make no mistake, God is intimately concerned with the details of our everyday lives, and He is far more concerned with the well-being of our souls.
If you feel frustrated at not being able to see the big picture, if you want a plan to follow, follow the one He has already mapped out for us. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Love God. Love others. Care for those who need help and remember that this world is not our home.
Dear Jesus, please help us. We falter and doubt Your goodness. We scare easily and forget Your provision. Forgive us for feeling that we need more than You to be secure in this life and for forgetting that all that really matters is that our eternal destiny is secure in the next. Help us God to walk by faith, for You do not allow us the luxury of walking by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). In Your Precious Name I Pray, Amen.