I sincerely hope all is well with you! I was really encouraged this Easter season in remembering Christ is Risen and is coming back! When all seems dark, this sustains me and I hope it sustains you, for our God is sovereign in ALL things!
I had a very interesting conversation with one of our Sparrows one day last week as we were sitting down at the table for breakfast. She informed me that she had been praying the night before for God to reveal His plan and purpose for her life. She was desperate to know what great plan God had for her and excited for the purpose for her life and what opportunities lay ahead. She then offered that she had opened a book which had been donated and the page she opened quoted 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.” She explained it was frustrating not knowing and why was it taking God so long to reveal this to her. I asked her how she felt reading that quote, and she responded that she was encouraged by it, as most people are when reading this verse.
I asked her if she knew the context of this verse and why God was speaking through the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel? She answered that she did not. So I delicately explained that in the chapters and verses before this verse, God was speaking to a rebellious people who had rejected God and were listening to false prophets who offered only what the people wanted to hear. Because of this, the people were about to be crushed and taken away into exile. While in exile they were expected to live their lives as normal as they could and eventually God would bring them out of exile after a certain time. In short, this is the context of this verse: people in rebellion, false prophets, crushing defeat, exile and a promise of return. Some parts of this plan don’t sound too good, but God does things His own way, especially when dealing with a rebellious and prideful people. In fact, even Nebuchadnezzar had a firm grasp on God’s sovereignty after experiencing God’s method of putting his prideful nature into perspective (see Daniel 4:34-35).
I then explained how often we are tempted to pray that God would reveal His plan and purpose for our life, but many time the prayer is tainted with selfish desires or expectations. We pray for this when we want things to align with what we want or seek what we think would be best for us. I explained that our prayers need to be different, with a different motivation of seeking God’s will. Our prayer should be more like, “God please prepare me for your plans and purpose for my life,” and “prepare my heart and spirit to be ready, open and responsive to Your will in my life.” The look I got from her was priceless, sort of a deer in the headlights look that said, “what, really?” I continued by saying that this was the prayer of Jesus in the garden, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42) She responded that she needed to indeed change her prayers!
It is so easy for us to pray for the grand plans and purposes, but much harder to pray, and more importantly commit, to absolute surrender of God’s will, especially when it involves some difficulty or something that calls us to work, volunteer or sacrifice in a place or for people that would not be our “first choice.” Our tendency is to expect God to respond to our personal whims, cares and worldly satisfactions. Many times Jesus becomes a means to end, when we need to see and believe Jesus as the end. He is IT, the one thing, all we need, and nothing more. And for those of us as followers of Jesus still seeking a plan and purpose for our life, we have to look no further than Matthew 28:18-20. That IS the plan and purpose.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support to the women we serve!