Jeremiah 29 vs 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.”
How many times have you heard or read those words? Possibly it’s been on a greetings card at a significant point in your life, or you have sent it to someone setting out on a new ministry or spiritual enterprise. Inevitably though, they are lifted from their surroundings and set in a positive context. They came originally as we’ve discovered not to people setting out on a new and exciting venture but to a people under judgement for their disobedience and languishing as captives every dignity as a nation having been stripped away. They came to people who were confused and hurting believing that God had failed or turned his back on them. Nothing could have been further from the truth. God had neither failed nor had he turned his back on them his plans were for their future good and this reassurance came while they were in what we call today “a dark place”.
From our perspective much of what we regarded as indispensable to church life has ceased for over six months, some of it may have gone forever. We may lament the loss and question why. Fears over our personal welfare in a pandemic and our uncertainty over what will be left of the church and its witness when the skies clear again may haunt us. In these troubling circumstances the word of God must be an encouragement otherwise we are left with only doubt and fear.
That said we, the church today like Israel then need to learn some lessons; what those are and how we apply them requires humility, dependant hearts and the diligence to seek God, indeed to wait on him. The Lord knows the plans he has for us his church, the reassurance is there, the encouragement to faith and trust captured in the words “plans to give you hope and a future” but the only way we can know what they are is first of all to ask and secondly when a conviction is formed to step out in faith perhaps in a new direction or in some new way. It was only when everything was stripped away and Israel was brought low that the people were prepared for God to lift them. As God kicks away the props his church has depended on in the 20th and 21st centuries there is nowhere else for us to stand but on Christ the Solid Rock as we lean on the unchangeable nature of his word and grace. Will you dare to dream what those plans of the Lord might be?
This is another blast from the past. This album from Ian White dates back to the late 80’s or early 90’s. I rediscovered it a few days ago and some of the songs seem more relevant and powerful now than they did even then.