By Darrell Creswell
2013 is right around the corner and many of us are making plans for the New Year ahead. For guaranteed good results this year, consider God’s plan for your life in light of His Word. Make it your New Year’s resolution to allow God to direct your life.
Plans – We all have them, we all make them, and we all want them to work out. There is a saying, “even the best made plans go awry”. We will be on a well-intentioned, thought-out plan when we encounter a twist or a turn we didn’t expect, and all of a sudden things are headed in the wrong direction. As a believer, it is very discouraging when all goes amiss and things are going wrong.
There is a difference, however, between the schedule that we arrange for ourselves and the plan that God has for our lives. It seems that many times when we develop a plan, we tend to make elaborate schemes without an overall design that factor in all circumstances. That is why God offers to do it for us.
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.
Let’s take a look at Jeremiah and see how this promise can correctly be applied to our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most misused promises in the whole Bible, but can be correctly applied if used in the right context. One needs to look at the complete 29th chapter of Jeremiah to understand what was taking place.
God’s people were taken into captivity. They had lost everything, except their lives, and what few possessions they could carry with them. They had lost their ability to work freely to make a living, and they were separated from their family and friends. No matter how they looked at their situation, there seemed to be no hope.
The false prophets of that day told them that they would be quickly delivered with their “everything’s going to be all right” message. Their immediate delivery was not in God’s plans. God told them to reconcile themselves to their captivity, to become as comfortable as they could under it, and to make the best of it, as their deliverance would take a while.
Realizing this can help us understand our own dilemmas, and will help us reconcile our own trials and troubles. This will also make us more patient under duress, as we realize that the problems and tribulations we many times find ourselves in—are what God has appointed us to. The earth is the Lord’s. Wherever, and in whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are still on God’s ground; He is still on the throne, and still in complete control.
To understand the promise of Jeremiah in our lives we must be totally submitted to God and His will. God told His people not to listen to their own dreams or to the false promises and dreams that the preachers of their time spoke unto them. God told them to listen to only Him. What God is talking about here is about the dreams, fancies and plans that we sometimes fill our own heads with instead of listening to God. In other words, don’t make things up for yourself and call it God’s plan for your life. Don’t flatter yourself into thinking that you have insight into God’s mind—for as we see in verse 11, only God knows His thoughts toward us, and only He can deliver them in our lives.
In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells us “I know the thoughts that I think towards you”. Acts 15:18 tells us“known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world”. God is always perfect in all that He does, and His works always agree exactly with his thoughts—he does all according to His will. Many times we are unsure of even our own thoughts, nor do we know our own mind, but God himself is never uncertain at any time. Many times as we face the troubles that are before us, we will easily doubt the will of God; we will doubt His will concerning us; and we will fear that God’s plans are against us. But God’s mind is quite the contrary concerning us, His children. He tells us here in Jeremiah that His thoughts are of good and not of evil. Reading this we must rest assured, even that which may seem evil to us at the time, is designed for our own good. His thoughts are always working for us, for our good towards the expected end, in which He has planned for us in His own due time.
He will carry out His plan for our lives, but it may not be when or how we expect it. When things are at their worst, they will begin to mend, and He will give to us the opportunity to see the glorious perfection of His deliverance; for unlike mankind, as is for God, His work is perfect. He that in the beginning finished the heavens and the earth will finish all the blessings to each one of us, His children. He will not give us results based on our fears, nor outcomes based on the expectations of our fancies. God will deliver to us according to His will and the expectations of our faith, the end which He has promised will turn out the best for our good.
Once we understand that we are to be thankful, comfortable, and trusting of God in the midst of our trials, then we can fully accept and understand the fulfillment of the promise of verse 11 as we read in verses 12–14 where God tells us, after the trials, after the trouble, if we do our best and trust Him in the midst of it all, He promises – “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.You will find me, if you seek me with all your heart . . . and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you.” The blessings of victory, and the accomplishment of His will in our lives are directly tied to being in right relationship with God even in the midst of our troubles. In order to “claim” the promise of verse 11, we must follow the instructions of verses 12-14, and learn to do our best in dire straits trusting Him, and not ourselves in all circumstances—especially bad ones.
His view of our lives far exceeds our own short-sightedness, as many times we can only see the obvious right in front of us, God works on the larger picture.
In summary –
- Accept your current problems and make the best of your present situation.
- Realize that in all circumstances you can allow tragedy to transform into triumph by accepting your situation and put yourself in the hands of a loving God who makes no mistakes.
- Do not indulge in false hopes, false teachings and grasp at your own schemes and designs that will lead to despair, depression, hopelessness, and discouragement.
- Be patient and trust God as you endure your trails – He knows the time and place of your victory and success in life – It is His plan, designed for your good end.
- Having been faithful during distress, when the time of testing is over then call upon God with “all your heart” and He will listen to you and answer you.
- God has a purpose and a plan for you according to His own timetable and will – Trust Him. His plans never fail.
We have all had times where we thought we were in God’s will only to find things coming apart on the broken wings of good intentions. Many times in life our hopes are bashed, promises broken and our way seems lost. It is in realizing that we are but humble pilgrims lost without God’s direction that we can find our way.
As we journey through life, we will get beaten up- we will get hurt and bruised along the way. Scarred memories mark our journey like markers on a highway. There are times of joy and bliss that we savor, but sometimes it seems that they get lost in our journey. People wonder what tomorrow will bring; a better life; a better situation; a more prosperous job; or a happy marriage. It is in God that we can find the hope for our future. If we put our hope in God, there will be no surprising ending in our lives. That is aNew Year’s resolution to look forward to.