Monday, January 05, 2009

God's plans for us

Pastor Don Dyck's sermon yesterday inspired me so much that I want to share a bit with you. I've just come off a roller coaster of ups and downs and am not even absolutely sure whether I'm off it yet. There were times I didn't want to live anymore, times when I called the crisis line and a prayer line in the middle of the night. Yet this sermon spoke to me, helping me realize it may not all be for nothing. It helps me realize that God is there with me in the middle of it all and that this is all part of His plan (not that He made me suffer, but knew that I would).

Don focussed on Jeremiah 29:11, a verse that is loved by so many. I know it has often encouraged me:

"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."

Taken in context, the way Bible verses need to be considered, these words might not be saying what we think them to say. We should realize that God is speaking to the Jews in exile in Babylon. Their lives are in turmoil and they think life is hopeless. The verse prior to this one says:

This is what the Lord says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place."

So...God does not necessarily promise our welfare immediately. When we're in pain - in exile - we may not experience God's promise anytime soon. It may not even happen in our lifetime! (Bipolar will be with me all my life, I know.) Yet verse 12 to 13 tell us:

...you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. "I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity."

God is at work. He is with us in the middle of any pain we might be facing. And how we live our life - no matter how hard - will affect future generations. The future God has planned for us is larger than our own lives. God's plan for us extends beyond our own lifetime. Even Moses, and many others with strong faith did not see God's plans fulfilled in their lifetime. But their work helped future generations.

I want to share Pastor Don's prayer with you because many of you are suffering as I so often do. And this prayer spoke so powerfully to me. I hope that you too will find hope here.

Father, you are an all-knowing God who sees our lives from beginning to end. You see every day of our life before it's lived. You read every page of the story of our life before it's written. But you also put the pen in our hands to work with you to write out our stories.

Sometimes we're trying to make sense of our experiences that don't make sense. Sometimes we're trying to find you in the middle of experiences where we can't see you. But I think that all of us want to find you, and you promise that if we seek you with all our hearts we will find you.

And so today we lift up all those who are experiencing painful circumstances in their lives - who feel they're in exile and feel this isn't going to end...and maybe it won't end anytime too soon. But I thank you that you promise to walk each step of the way with us. You never leave us. And you give us the privilege of being your presence in each other's lives as well.

So may we go into this year with sights lifted up and looking even beyond this year. As we engage fully in this life knowing that, and live fully this life with a sense that our life matters greatly and is more important than anything that we could ever begin to imagine or think. And that through us you could be laying - and are laying - the foundations of different things you want to do in the world beyond our lifetime.

Thank you for your work in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

1 comment:

Wendalyn Love said...

Marja,
Thank you for sharing this wonderful sermon with new incites into a favourite scripture. It was a great encouragement to me.
Wendalyn