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. Jer. 29:11
Heavenly Father, this well-known, oft’-quoted verse both challenges and comforts us. It challenges the part of us that wishes you’d simply sign off on the plans we’d make for ourselves.
We’d write stories that include as few crises and crucibles as possible, no surprises and minimal suffering. We’d love to simply go to sleep one day and wake up in heaven, having lived a long life of personal peace and affluence. Duh… of course we would.
But at the core of the new heart you’ve given us in Jesus, that’s not what we really want. We know better than to exchange places with you—making us the potter and you the clay. We have every reason to trust you and love you, Father. You gave Jesus to us and for us. You’ll give us everything else we truly need (Rom. 8:32). You never promised to do all things easy; but you did promise to do all things well.
Grant us grace when your plan includes things that, in the moment, don’t feel like they’re for our welfare. There are stretches when it seems like you answer our prayers with a disproportionate amount of “No’s” to “Yes’s”… (as though the only loving answer to one of our prayers is “Yes!”).
Healing comes too slowly, and difficult news comes too quickly. Kids struggle and cars break, furnaces go out and friends move on. National-politics ignite our anger, family-addictions deplete our resources, and stories of abuse fuel our rage. Instead of “grace upon grace,” life in our world often feels like “crazy upon crazy” and “spin upon spin.”
And yet, Father, you are in control—all the time and in every place. So, grant us Spirit-strength to trust, wait, and hope. Turn our fretting into faith, and the rolling of our eyes into rolling up our sleeves to serve our neighbors. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’s beautiful and grace-full name.