For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
If you’ve been around christian people for a while, and if you’ve had some tough stuff happen in your life, it is almost a certainty that someone has told you about this verse. And it is almost a certainty that in the middle of the tough stuff your response was ‘Yeah, right’. As in, ‘Nope. I don’t believe that.’
‘Really God? Your plans are not for disaster, because that is all that I can see right now and given disaster surrounds me, why would I trust your ‘plans’ ? And is it a future I’m going to want ? Is it really hope ? Is it the life I would choose if I had the power to influence outcomes ? I’m not buying it’.
That’s been my response to this verse.
And yet, today I need to acknowledge that maybe I don’t always have the best ideas, and like a parent caring for a child, there is a bigger picture which I don’t see, and there are motivations in other people’s lives which I don’t understand.
Today, right now this morning, I am acutely aware of the way in which I was rescued one year ago, when my relationship with the other came to an end. I didn’t see it as rescue then. I wanted my world to end. I knew that being with the other was not God’s plan for me, but I hated the thought of the alternative. I couldn’t see a future or a hope for myself if I stayed within my marriage.
One year on I am beginning to see things and discover things which I didn’t know a year ago. Things which had I known them then would have guarded my heart from becoming entangled with the other. What is amazing to me is that up until fairly recently I still believed that my value was tied up with the other’s valuing or de-valuing of me. God has shown me so clearly that my value and worth are determined by Him, and He loves me. Adores me. Gave his Son for me.
Having shifted my view of self, I am in a much better place to deal with the revelations that are coming my way. They are shocking and disturbing, and all I can say is ‘Thank God I didn’t walk away from my marriage. Thank God my husband didn’t walk away from our marriage. Thank God that he protected and rescued me from the destruction that I would surely have walked into if I could have made the choices I wanted to.’
Yesterday as we sat together as a family for our advent worship I could see the future and the hope. It’s already in existence. God’s words are true. I have only spent a year so far trusting those words in this particular situation , but already I can see their fulfilment. Sometimes we will have to wait much longer before we can see what God knew all along. But I have confidence that we will see the goodness of God.
I was saved from disaster for a future and a hope. It doesn’t get much better than that.