Looks like the world is falling apart, doesn’t it? If it isn’t the unemployment here at home, it’s the rioting in the Middle East. It’s the danger on the Mexican border. It’s the threat of North Korea. Or it’s the earthquakes that kill so many people. Or the storms that leave people homeless. There is so much going on around us that it’s easy to focus only on the disaster quotiont of this broken world we live in.
War. Poverty. Bad things happening to good people. Somedays it’s enough to really depress me.
I know it definitely makes me wonder what God is up to. I don’t doubt that He’s doing something. He’s always doing something. But whatever this is that’s sweeping the world right now, whether it’s chaos or anarchy or liberty or apathy some weird combination of all of them, it’s unsettling. I believe we’re in the End Times, but we’ve been in the End Times for a long time, and I still feel like it’s going to get much worse before it gets better.
There are so many what if questions. What if the stock market crashes? What if the money system fails? What if there is another terrorist attack and we don’t retaliate and they just keep coming until there’s nothing left of this country? What if we all lose our jobs? What if the harvest goes south again and there’s not enough food for people to live on? What if, what if, what if, what if.
What if questions will be the death of me. So I’m trying not to ask them anymore. The only real answer to a What If question is that God knows what He’s doing and that He will never forsake His children.
The verse this morning truly encouraged me, and I hope it encourages everyone else too:
11 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. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Isn’t God’s love amazing? You know He’s got to have other things that should rank higher than reassuring us that He’s got our backs, but He does it anyway.
I love the context of this verse too, because it was given to the nation of Israel when they were captives in Babylon. They were in captivity. Their homes had been destroyed. Their families were separated. It looked like the very end of everything they had ever dreamed of. But God told them that it wasn’t. He told them that He already had everything worked out and that even though they weren’t living the life they’d always dreamed of, He was still with them and He was still making plans for their future. And they weren’t just any plans — they were good plans.
It’s the same for us.
Things are pretty rough now for a lot of people. And even those of us who are still employed aren’t really safe. Anything could happen. But nothing surprises God. He’s got plans for us, and they’re good plans. And the fact that He promises to hear when we call out to Him shocks me. I mean, come on! This is God. He made everything from Jupiter to leptons and He’s even willing to entertain an audience with a goofy, screwed up wordsmith like me? How is that even possible? I know it’s not logical or rational, but it’s true. If I call to Him, He’ll listen; if I look for Him, I’ll find Him.
It’s the same for everyone else. Even if life is rough and you aren’t where you think you should be right now, just hang on because God’s got good plans for everyone.
Forgive me another crude pop culture analogy, but I adored the new remake of the A-Team. It had been a long time since I laughed that hard at the same time I was on the edge of my seat. The leader of the A-Team is Hannibal Smith, and this guy is pretty incredible (the character is amazing . . . . and Liam Neeson played him so that made him flippin’ awesome). But this character is known for his planning skills and strategies. He can make a plan so far in advance that he’s basically directing the actions of their enemies.
Now, I’m not saying that Hannibal Smith is like God or vice versa. But if you watch that movie (and probably the TV show), you’ll see that some of Hannibal’s plans have some pretty rough spots. Or they require the rest of the team to go through some pretty scary stuff before it all ends well. But those rough spots have to be there. They’re unavoidable. They’re uncomfortable but they’re necessary, and in the end it all works out.
In some ways, that’s how God’s plans work. He knows what’s happening. He’s got it all worked out. He knows our thoughts and our actions before we think or make them. But because the world is broken, there are some points in our lives that are going to be rough. They’ll be scary. We’ll be uncomfortable. But, it’s all part of the plan, and God knows what He’s doing. And in the end, when everything is over, it will all turn out all right because God is God, He never makes mistakes, and He always keeps His promises.
And I’m sure He loves it when a plan comes together too. =)