So. I’m sitting by the fire place at the Panera Bread in Boone, North Carolina. I’ve got an hour before I have to leave for an appointment with my therapist. I really want to write. And the thing that is still foremost on my mind right now is the death of my father. But I think I’ve devoted enough of my words to that. It will forever be on my mind and heart. But I think it is already time for my words to move on a little bit. So…what to write about? I decided to check my Bible app and see if anything jumped out at me.
VERSE OF THE DAY: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
I am a woman who loves this verse. A lot of people do…and I am DEFINITELY one of them! It is emblazoned on wall hangings, license tags, shirts, bumper stickers, skin and Bibles. It is a great verse of comfort. (May I suggest at this point that you put on endless repeat, “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli from her album If We’re Honest.).
But what do we do with this verse in times of pain and panic? Many folks are in pain and panic after this election. Being personally in pain and panic after the death of my father…I admit to having difficulty extending grace to people who are so upset over the election. But it is a big thing for a LOT of Americans. And both of these things…are just life! Let’s just mention the pain and panic of civil war in Africa, gathering as Christians in China, dying for lack of clean water in South America. Things that shouldn’t be things. But they are. And since they are…how are we supposed to put this verse into conversation with these facts of life? These times of pain and panic?
Let’s split this verse into three parts.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…”
In this verse, the God of the universe says this: “I got this.” He knows the plans for the cosmos, for the planet, for the nation, for the state, for the county, for the city, for the block, for the street, for the house, for the one and only you. He not only knows it…He wrote it. He holds it in the palm of His hand. And He declares that over us. He doesn’t hold it high and lofty. He comes into our hearts, looks us dead in the eyes…and declares it. “I got this.”
“…plans for welfare and not for evil…”
Ooh I’m about to get worked up in Panera y’all! Let me tell you what I love. I love looking at the original Hebrew and Greek in scripture. So I went to the online Strong’s Concordance and searched the word “welfare”. It’s a word I’ve seen and heard before but would not have expected to find here.
That word that gets used so much in blessings! There are plans of shalom for me. According to Strong’s, this word means “well, favor, friend, great, good health, perfect, peace.” Can we get on board with that? Are y’all okay with plans of being well…of having God’s favor…of being God’s friend…of being great, having good health, being perfect, and having peace? I’m alright with it. And lets take this one step farther and find out what that word evil translates to! “Adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, displeasure, distress”. Mmmmm! Heart Yums!
“…to give you a future and a hope.”
Are you in the midst of your pain and panic? Do you not get this part? Can you not see past the end of your broken heart to a future? We may have this hope for an anchor to our souls…but do you feel like you’re in a storm and forgot to throw the anchor over…so all it really is, is extra weight sinking you faster? Stop. Be still. Let the storm rage all around you as you let this truth sink in. Our future…is Jesus. Our hope…is Jesus. It’s not something we look for. Hear it baby:
IT IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE!!!
Hallelujah?! Amen?! Praise the Lord and pass the pie?! I hear ya! This hope and future that our God declares over us is a hope and future we currently have living in our hearts if we are born again through Christ! I’m all worked up right now y’all! And that ain’t even all! Jesus is our Future and our Hope. But we still have a future and a hope.
No matter what pain and panic you are currently facing, God has a plan for it. And it is a plan that will give you a future of hope and the hope of a future! No matter your circumstance, there is an all-encompassing Futurue and Hope and a personal future and hope. If I were going to put this verse in my own words, it would sound like this:
“My Papa looks me in the eyes and proclaims, ‘I got this.’ And this is a plan. A plan for peace and not for affliction. A plan that includes the Future and Hope of My Son…but also includes a future full of hope for you and the hope of a future for you with Us.” -Jeremiah 29:11 (Translation Of Maggie’s And Total Obedience or TOMATO)