One of my favorite verses of all time is:
"'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.'"
Ahhh. It just makes you feel unstoppable, doesn't it? It preaches great. It even looks oh so fab on a t-shirt.
4 years into my dream career in pharmaceutical sales-I was making great money, I had a company car, I was top 1% in the world in sales for two years. I even gave glory to God for all of it in every opportunity. I was so sure I was living in those plans He promised me. At the end of 2016 (10 days before Christmas), I was "displaced".
OH, God...remember that thing you said about plans to prosper me??? After I got up off the floor from throwing a full out 2 year old tantrum, He had me study this verse. Even as I write this, I am unemployed. But what changed me from my fit to my future was finding hope in HIS plans for me. I pray this will do the same for you.
So what are HIS plans and how do we tap into them?
Prosper in Hebrew means promote or success.
1. to change the rank or position of someone to a higher one
2. to help something grow or develop
First, we must understand God's definition of prosper. We immediately think money, houses, material items, more followers, more this, more that. HIS plans are to change our position to a higher one. HIS plans are to help us grow and develop.
Got it? Wonderful. Now let's look at the context of where He made this promise...
At this time, God had delivered the Israelites into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah wrote to the people in exile:
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
WHEN HIS PLANS AREN'T MY PLANS
EXILE. Sounds scary right?
Remember that GOD delivered the Israelites into exile. Sometimes God delivers us to a place where it feels we are all alone, no one understands how we feel, that relationship/job/dream was ripped away from us.
God was telling the people to settle into this place of exile and start a new life. And He is saying the same to you. Where you're away from the noise. Look for the joy in it. Learn it's new language. Pray for your place of exile. If it prospers, so do you.
In 29:10, God states that the people will be in this place for 70 years, and THEN he will come and fulfill His good promise and bring them back to Jerusalem. Sometimes it feels like a lifetime that we are waiting to hear from God on the why/when/how/where/what plans. I even dare to believe it was 70 years because He needed to clean out a lifetime of generational curses (depression, alcoholism, disfunctional families, drug addictions, abondonment, old habits)...
See your exile from His vantage point. "SHOW ME WHAT I AM TO LEARN/DO HERE FATHER!" He promises to deliver you at the perfect time.
SO WHAT ARE HIS PLANS??
Just two verses after our fave, He tells us we will SEEK HIM and FIND HIM when we SEEK WITH ALL OUR HEART.
We can't have the promise without the process.
SEEKING HIM with our whole hearts is where we find His will and His plan.
In Matthew 7:7, Jesus tells us "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Keep seeking. Keep knocking. This will look different for all of us. Maybe it means fasting. Maybe fasting from all social media and media (this has proven to be life changing for me). Maybe it is committing your morning to being in His presence and word. Tell Him "I won't leave your presence until I find it Lord!"
HE HAS CRAZY AMAZING PLANS FOR YOU. SEEK HIM. YOU'LL FIND HIM.
We thank you that your promises are Yes and Amen. That you have a plan for each one of your daughter's that exceeds anything we could even begin to imagine. We apologize for the times we have made it about our plan and what we think it should look like. At this very moment, we surrender. To your will. To your plans. We declare we have the mind of Christ working in us. Give us new perspective. Give us a hunger to seek you like never before. Because we know it is that place, and only in that place, that we will find you. In Jesus name, Amen.