"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." ~Jeremiah 29:11
"Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, " ~ Jeremiah 29:12-13
The possibility of compiling so many things from the year 2013 is more than I want to do and would be more than you would want to read. So, instead of breaking it all down I thought that I could give a sense of overall feeling (okay, maybe just a few events of the year too).
For many Christians (for most Christians) we travel through a series of events and emotions throughout our life. It goes from high hopes to disappointments which causes us to turn to God for whatever help we need. We are comforted and get back on track then more disappointments or sorrows come which can lead to anxiety and fear for the future But, we once again turn to God and our hearts are in a good spot once again. Just when we think we have it figured out around the corner something else happens and we are back to being upset and crying out to God which causes us to cling all the more to Christ for hope and encouragement. Hopefully, as the years go by and as we get older, we learn to trust more and be discouraged less. An unbeliever might think that this is a futile attempt at living one's life but for the Christian it is a progression of learning and growing in grace.
The scripture Jeremiah 29:11 is hanging in our home in a nice frame. It has beautiful writing and is a familiar Bible verse that many of us Christians hold on to. Honestly, it is in the moments or seasons of life when I might not feel too whole physically, wonder about the future and the hope I have is hang-dangling that I remember this verse. In reality, all the little or big moments of our lives boil down to God and His love and care for us. He has ways of working that out in our life so that as we progress in years and experience Christ becomes more real to us because of what we have gone through.
It is interesting to note that the book of Jeremiah is all about justice. God is calling the nation of Israel to come back from their wandering and worship of other things instead of the one true God. There are words of condemnation and judgement in the book of Jeremiah but in the midst of it are the verses that I quote above. I suppose that one could make a case out of this saying that if you stay close to Christ you will be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise. But that is not what I am saying. Life has moments of joy and sorrow. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. God calls us to live good and upright lives but that will not guarantee a care free life and save us from hardships that are inevitable.
What I am saying is that in the joys of this life Christ is there with us. Also, when the hardships come and life is a disappointment Christ is there too. Our contentment isn't dependent on our circumstances but upon Christ who shares in our joys and sorrows. Our wholeness comes from knowing a Savior who sustains us through the good or the bad. Our future lies in the hope of Christ who promises His presence and guidance.
It is easy to sense God's good kindness in happy events. For instance, this past December we had the joy of seeing our son married to a lovely girl. The event was over the top beautiful and really capped the season's festivities. Two of our daughters and their families were able to buy homes on acreage. Though the process of moving is never pleasant they are now enjoying the fruit of their labors and God's blessings. We have the joy of the new coming into the family and the oddest feeling of our oldest grandson having his driver's license (yes, we are that old). Our youngest daughter is in the last stretch of high school and will graduate, not only with her high school diploma, but also with an AA degree. We can definitely say that the Lord is good to us when we look at all of the good things in life.
How hard is it to say that God is kind to us, though, when circumstances don't look as good in our eyes? I want to be able to trust in the verse of Jeremiah 29 even when I can't see it. In my weeping over heartaches or difficulty in health issues I want to believe that the Lord has plans even for me. I want to trust that my life and the lives of those loved around me have hope and a future. This is where the "rubber meets the road" and there is no doubt that this too is the Lord's doing.
I am sure that 2014 will have its share of good and seemingly bad. But, in reality, with Christ's presence even the hard stuff can produce good results. So, with confidence, we can look to the future without fear knowing that in Him we live, move and have our being (Acts 17:28).