August 31, 2015

An Unmarried Mess

Jeremiah 29:1-15
Around graduation time every year, Jeremiah 29:11 is probably the most quoted scripture. And why wouldn’t it be since it talks about plans the Lord has to “prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s all very positive, just what every doe-eyed graduate wants to hear. But, as Kelvin Reed pointed out to me in a conversation we had several months ago, we seldom pause to read the 11 verses before it which describe the many seasons the Israelites spent in exile awaiting their return to their beloved city of Jerusalem. During those years in captivity, there was no prosperity. The people were harmed by their captors. Hope was all they had and, at times, clinging to it must have seemed delusional.

We all need to realize that God has a plan for our lives. Sometimes his plan is very clear like it was for the Israelites (Exodus). Other times it can be muddled like it was for Hannah (1 Samuel 1 & 2). In both circumstances, a time of waiting was involved. Time was needed to cleanse past failures. Time was needed to strengthen and refine faith.

God does not operate according to our timelines. As believers, figuring that out is one of our greatest hurdles. We all have dreams and plans for our future. Society seems to insist people must be married and have kids within certain ages. And we all are guilty of ridiculing couples who to get married when we think they are too young or too old. Who are we to ridicule God’s timing?

All of us need to realize God has a plan for each of us individually. He does not and never will blend us all together into a national average. Following his plan and surrendering to his timeline will prosper us and not bring us harm. Following his plan will give us the hope we need for the future he wants each one of us to have. We might have to go through a season or seasons of waiting, but he will sustain us.