Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cover to Cover

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. Jeremiah 29:11


Every year, around April or May, we start getting in all kinds of product with this verse on it. Pictures, picture frames, bookmarks, plaques, desk sets, bible covers, pillows...you name it and someone puts this verse on it. It is universally recognized as THE verse to go along with graduation. The thinking is that the graduate needs reassurance and a reminder that God is looking over their shoulder and He has their life mapped out. He's just waiting for them to take the next step. I've flippantly quoted the same verse any time someone expressed a lack of direction or confusion over what they should do next. And I'm not saying that any of that stuff was wrong. (except maybe the "flippant" part.)

This past week, however, as I was reading the verse in context (yay, chronological reading!), something else struck me. Here the Israelites are, getting ready to enter one of the darkest times in their history. Certainly it will be the darkest that any in this generation can remember. (and isn't it funny what they perceive to be "dark"? I'm sure God thinks their darkest times are when they turn from Him.) Yet even in this bleakest time, a time of horrible loss, God had a plan. A plan to prosper them. To give them hope and a future.


Did they believe Him?


Do I believe Him?


When days pass that aren't quite what I've expected or planned for, do I believe that God has a plan for me?


That He hasn't forgotten me during whatever loss I might be walking with?


And I guess the other thing that reached out and tugged on my heart was that no matter how angry God was at His treasured people, He left them with this promise. A promise that was designed to offer a measure of comfort in the darkness. You could even say it was a nightlight of sorts, meant to guide them back to Him.

This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. "When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen. "When you come looking for me, you'll find me. "Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree. "I'll turn things around for you. I'll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you"—God's Decree—"bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.
Jeremiah 29:11-14

5 comments:

annie's eyes said...

I needed to hear that today. We cannot slip too far away from His promises even in His anger with us. Like the best of parents, He gets mad, but He is a God of His Word, and He still loves us. Good reminder, Karen--He never fails us.

annette said...

This verse has been every where this week, Bible study, popping up on posts and I thought this is THE verse to cling to during dark times...and now I am reading it on your post...methinks the Lord is telling a lot of us something...

Annette

Mary Lou said...

I think you are right, we tend to think that this means only "good, easy, prosperous" plans. I hesitate to write this, but I was claiming this for my grandson in 1999, he had just turned two when Jesus came and took him home. Yet, I could see that there was good in His plan for sweet Christian. He was saved for all eternity, I would never have to worry about him again and he was safe(won't go into the story) but he was so much better off with Jesus. God's plan for him was just the number of days that he lived. We all need to think about the Israelites getting ready to go into a dark time when He gave them this promise. It was a "nightlight" for them and it should be for us too and not just a promise of a sweet by and by. Thank you for this post. Made me think and remember...Blessings on your day.

Michelle V said...

I was also struck with a whole new insight into this verse after reading it in context chronologically! I love it!

Blessings
Michelle

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