Anyone who grew up in or around church probably knows the bible verse "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. Sunday morning in our current sermon series "Post-It Notes from God," Pastor Rod put this verse in context. You see, it's usually quoted alone, without the background information, to encourage someone who may be having a hard time or not sure what the next step in life is going to be. When you learn about what was going on when Jeremiah sent this mighty word to the Israelites, it means so much more. God sent this word to his people after they had screwed up royally. They had disobeyed God's instructions, and were suffering the consequences. Even in their sin and disobedience, God said (my paraphrasing), "I still have plans for you. Even after you ignored what I said, I still have plans for you. And they are great plans. Plans to take care of you and protect you." Personally, I think that's pretty amazing.
Even though I've never done anything the world would consider major sin or really bad, I, like everyone on this earth, have sinned and unfortunately disobeyed the Lord. Anyone who said they have never sinned or disobeyed is lying (which is a sin!). Anyway, I find it comforting that no matter how much I screw up, He's still there and still has a wonderful plan for me. His plan isn't quite how I pictured it would be. Isn't that usually how it goes? We plan this awesome things we're going to do as we grow up - what job we'll have, who we'll marry, where we'll live, what our kids will be like. It's not until we deny ourselves and listen to God that we realize the mighty plan He has for us. I was always going to be a doctor. It's the only thing I've ever said I want to be. But, I was NEVER going to be a pediatrician. I was going to be an orthopedic surgeon. Then I was going to be an OB/GYN. It wasn't until I was able to ignore my plans and focus on His that I realized the plan He had for me. And yes, for anyone who may not realize it, I am a pediatrician. In fact, I'm in fellowship now to become a developmental-behavioral pediatrician. I certainly never planned on having a child with a disability, but God knew what He was doing when He gave us Will. Why do we question if God knows what He's doing? We always seem so surprised, and say, "I guess God knew what He was doing." Duh! Of course He does...He's God! Anyway...
One more example of God's plan and the incredible faith it takes to follow it is the story of my best friend Jessi George and her family. They recently picked up and moved from Mississippi to Papua New Guinea to be tribal missionaries with New Tribes Missions. This has been their dream for six years now, and yesterday, they realized that dream. They are now in their temporary home there and are loving it. Many of us, even me at times, thought "They're crazy! Taking those three little girls (ages 9 months, 3 years, and 5 years) all the way around the world to live in a mud hut. What are they thinking?" But we're the crazy ones. Following God's plan may seem crazy to some, but if you don't follow His plan, that's when I'd question your sanity! This family has demonstrated unwavering faith despite many worldly setbacks, and now has been rewarded with the desires of their heart.
Just think, following the Lord, living for Him and in His word daily, will allow you to see the unbelievable plan He has for you too! No matter what you've done, where you've been, or who you are, God has a plan for you. Never doubt that. You're NEVER too far gone for the Lord to bring you back. Just read Jeremiah chapter 29, and you'll see how far the Lord can bring you.