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  • Rachel Micke

The Plan

Most people who are very familiar with Bible scripture know the verse, Jeremiah 29:11, which says, "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."

But what may not be as familiar is the context of this verse, the story that was unfolding when this word was given. This is what the Lord spoke to the people of Israel who had been banished from their home of Jerusalem and forced to live in a foreign place called Babylon. Just before this verse, the Lord tells them to make a life in that place, to settle and to marry and have children, to seek peace and prosperity for the land. He then goes on to reveal His plan to fulfill his promise of bringing them back to Jerusalem after 70 years in Babylon, which is then followed by the famous Jeremiah 29:11.

And while this verse holds so much truth and hope within it's words, the following verses 29:12-14 are just as vital to the heart of the message: "Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

This beautiful promise in Jeremiah comes in the midst of chaos, confusion, disappointment, lost hope, instability, pain, and I imagine even a lot of questions about the presence and goodness of God. It comes to people who have gone off track, lost their focus and lost sight of their purpose, and who are asking, "What now?" and "What should we do next?" It comes at a time of transition between what is known and what is unknown, what is familiar and routine to what is foreign and strange. It comes as a plan for those who have had their own plans stripped away. But it also comes as so much comes as GOD's plan for the hearts of his people.

The Lord speaks to them about their practical needs, about how to move and what to do in their current situation. He brings stability to their physical lives. And then he brings peace to their emotions-He has good things for them, he's bringing hope and speaking to their future. And THEN-see it in verse 12? THEN He gets to the crux of all of it-their hearts. His plan all along, from the exile to Babylon to their return, was to get their hearts realigned with Him, to rebuild His relationship with them, to get them to a place of seeking Him, but then also making himself able to be FOUND by them! What an incredible beautiful, wonderful God we serve! And what a beautiful PLAN he has.

So you may ask yourself, what does this passage in the Old Testament have to do Rachel's journey in South Africa? Well, if I'm being honest, a lot. You see, this time of transition, though it's not exile, has in many ways and moments left me feeling like the Israelites of old. I've been confused, disappointed, unsteady and unstable, questioning my purpose, asking God, "What now?" and have even watched plans I've made fade before my very eyes. But I have found such strength and hope in the promises of God from Jeremiah that are still true for me today. I can bloom where I'm planted. Even in this season, I don't have to waffle in questions and uncertainty, but can dig in and move forward, living my life in full on the path God has placed me. Even in this season, God is bringing hope for a good and prosperous future. And best of all, God is always faithful to do whatever He needs to do to pursue and capture my heart. He provides all I need for my physical and emotional needs, leads me to seek him, and my freely found.

Lord, thank you for your good plan.

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