"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 NIV).
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the many beautiful promises made by God to us. It is a promise that although we’ll experience suffering and hardship, there’s a long-term plan of hope and prosperity. We are God’s “blueprint.” He knows everything we have to go through to build us the way He needs us to be made. We must have the patience to go through the building of our faith.
A few months ago, I was rushed to the hospital by ambulance for suspected food poisoning. Upon arrival, I had to wait in the hallway for a room in the ER. Then I had to stay in the ER room until a room was available on the observation wing. I was in pain, my blood pressure was elevated, and my migraine was so bad. I wasn’t allowed to have any medication until my primary doctor came to the hospital the next day. When I was moved to a regular room, I wasn’t allowed to have anything to eat or drink for three days. My doctor decided to continue to withhold medication. Instead, I was given IV antibiotics to fight a dangerous infection.
At the time, I believed the staff could’ve made me feel better by providing my medication. I didn’t consider that the discomfort I was going through temporarily was meant for my good. They needed to treat the infection to save my life before giving me the medication that would’ve made me comfortable.
My experience made me think of situations in the bible where people endured discomfort for a time while God worked in the background to preserve them for the future. Though the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians, God told them to build houses, plant gardens, and marry. In other words, God was telling them that although their situation was uncomfortable, to be content in the place they were, and they’d be delivered to a land of promise. Eventually, God brought the Israelites out of Egypt into the promised land.
I initially thought I was being taken to the hospital for food poisoning. I felt awful when my blood pressure elevated, and I struggled with a migraine. However, those issues were secondary compared to the deadly infection ravaging my body. Therefore, the suffering that I had to go through first was needed to get my body healed. The doctors created a plan or a blueprint for my care.
In the same way, God does the same for us as he has the blueprint for our lives and knows best. He’ll never take us places or through illnesses without equipping us to manage our challenges. We know this to be true because of his words in Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for the many promises you’ve given me. Please help me continue to be about your business despite the discomforts of life. Please help me find peace through my challenges, knowing that you have the blueprint for my life and know best. Please show me how to encourage others and accept encouragement when needed. In your son Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!
Your turn: What are some of God’s promises you stand on? Do you have an example of God working in your life for your good when it seemed otherwise?