God Knows Our Way and His Plans Are Good
by Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com
“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
Sometimes, we may not believe this is true. Troubles swirl around us, pressures feel too great, life seems hard. We might even feel like God has forgotten us and left us facing the struggles all alone.
Yet in the background of this great verse, we’re reminded that God spoke these words to His people, not when times were easy, but when times were very hard. They would endure 70 years of captivity, they would experience great suffering. And it’s right there, in the midst of all that, we can see the hope of God shine through.
He didn’t leave his people in the tough trials. He won’t leave us there either. He walks us through, reminding us that His plans are for good, for a future, for a hope. He is right with us, and breathes confidence and peace, that we will press through the struggle, and come out to the other side, stronger, faith-filled. He assures us that He will never waste the pain of what we experience in this life, but will bring greater good and blessing because of it.
If you find yourself facing hard times today, or maybe you’ve just walked through a difficult year, this verse is your reminder – there’s hope ahead. Be confident of this, God’s not finished yet. You’re still here, you’re gaining strength and perseverance through the trials. He has good in store, great purpose in all that we walk through, no matter how hard it may be.
He sees the big picture of our lives, and He’s aware of every little detail too. He knows what He’s doing, even when we can’t see it all yet. He often works behind the scenes that unfold our every day, in the places where we may not always understand His plans. Even through all our seasons of waiting.
So we can trust…that He has our best in mind. He’s got our back. He’s with us right now. And He’s secured our future too.
Resting in that truth today. There’s peace in knowing we don’t have to try hard to control it all. We can let go of the need to try to figure it all out, or the striving of trying to make things happen.
God knows, He understands, we’re never alone.
Streams in the Desert – January 8
I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing (Ezekiel 34:26).
What is your season today? Are you experiencing a season of drought? If so then it is the season for showers. Are you going through a season of great heaviness with dark clouds? Then that too is the season for showers. “Your strength will equal your days” (Deut. 33:25). “I will send… showers of blessing.” Notice that the word ‘showers’ is plural.
God will send all kinds of blessings. And all His blessings go together like links in a golden chain. If He gives you saving grace, He will also give you comforting grace. God will send “showers of blessings.” Look up today, you who are dried and withered plants. Open your leaves and flowers and receive God’s heavenly watering.
–Charles H. Spurgeon
Let but your heart become a valley low,
And God will rain on it till it will overflow.
You, O Lord, can transform my thorn into a flower. And I do want my thorn transformed into a flower. Job received sunshine after the rain, but was the rain all wasted? Job wants to know, and I want to know, if the rain is related to the sunshine. Only You can tell me – Your cross can tell me. You have crowned Your sorrow. Let this be my crown, O Lord. I will only triumph in You once I have learned the radiance of the rain.
The fruitful life seeks rain as well as sunshine.
When Less is More
Scripture Reading — Mark 12:41-44
“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” — Mark 12:44
Jesus was doing heart checks, not money checks, as he watched people bring their offerings to the temple. He knew who was being stingy and who was being generous. And he explained how the gift of the poor widow was a true act of worship.
It can be tempting for church councils and nonprofit boards to focus too much on pleasing major donors, whose money can yield power and influence. It’s often the wealthy who are sought out for leadership roles and coveted as friends. Even in the body of Christ, money talks. But Jesus is saying here, “Not so fast.”
We also should seek out people with limited financial resources and abundant generosity to be part of our friend circles, to mentor others, and to serve as leaders. Rather than looking past those who seem to be least among us, we need to ask Jesus for his eyes to see one another’s incredible value and to learn from each other. Wealth can be here today, gone tomorrow. Jesus is concerned with the motives of the heart.
Recently a single mom who cleans houses for a living gave the church a packet of envelopes that each contained cash she had set aside from her weekly earnings. The total amount was not very much compared with that of a wealthier donor, but in terms of her heart and sacrifice, it was extremely valuable. Sometimes less is more!
Genesis 3:15 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
This is the first declaration in Scripture that God would deal with sin, and it is made to Satan in the earshot of Adam and Eve. It is in the same chapter as the fall of man. As God is pronouncing the affects of sin upon their lives and the world in which they live, He also gives man a promise and Satan a warning. First there is the declaration that there will be hatred between Satan and man. The seed, or offspring, of the woman will be in conflict with the offspring of Satan. Satan is out to kill, steal, and destroy. (John 10:10) But there is one Seed (singular) that will specifically take on Satan and crush his head (authority and rule). This promise tells us that the Victor will be a male descendent of Eve.
God was quick to give mankind a hope to which, by faith, they could look forward. People living before Christ looked forward to the Victor of the enemy of their souls, by faith, just as we look back with faith. We all trust that the crushing of Satan’s head was sufficient to rescue us from Satan’s authority, the authority over us that our sin gave him. In the process, however, the Savior’s heel was struck. Archeologists have discovered that crucified victims were nailed through the heel bone. Jesus’ heels were pierced like the two teeth fangs of the serpent, one through each heel. In the process Satan’s head was crushed. Satan tried to bite our Savior, but the bite resulted in his defeat and our salvation. The promise has been fulfilled.
Consider: Are you living free from the authority of that defeated one and in the power of the risen Victor?