Last week I asked you to think about and process Jeremiah 29:11 for a little bit. If you didn’t, it’s okay. This is a verse I’ve never paid a whole lot of attention to because it’s so often used by pastors and others, which doesn’t make sense for me not to have studied it closer. But, anyways, it’s about having faith and trusting in the Lord. I understand that trusting in Him can be hard, however, it is very vital in our relationship with Jesus that we hold on to Him at all times.
“For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
It sounds easy, trusting the person who created us with His love in mind, but that’s not always the case. Jesus loves us and made us to honor Him but we just can’t seem to hold onto Him with both hands. We hold onto Him with one hand and try to hold on to our careers, families, hobbies, sins, with the other. It doesn’t work like that. The only way to be truly free in Jesus Christ is to confidently trust in Him.
This past winter I went to a retreat in South Carolina and the camp pastor couldn’t speak so he had a replacement preach. Anyways, about the third night he had us write the things that were most important us. Our biggest dreams, our most prized possessions, and even those who were closest to us. He then talked about trusting Jesus with those things, but then he challenged us to put those sticky notes on a prop door. It sounds easy at first but it challenged us to truly give up those things; our most important hopes, a house, a career a family. The most important people to us; our family, friends, or even the hope of a spouse. Giving those over to Jesus, truly letting Jesus have those things was one of the hardest things I had ever done. It sounds silly because why wouldn’t we want Jesus to have control of those things. It is because we spend most of our lives planning the rest of our lives. We want to plan everything out ourselvand rarely ask Him for direction or faith. I shed tears. I laid down those things down at the feet of Jesus. I told Him He could do whatever He wanted to with those things. I told Him He could make me homeless if He wanted to. I told Him He could take my family and friends away. I told Him I would be single and without children one day if that’s what he wanted. I’m so glad I did that though. It was a good tangible metaphor (if that’s a thing) of John 15:13-14.
If we love the Lord we will lay down our life (people, dreams, possessions). It should be a no-brainer but we are wired to think that we know best. God is all-knowing, which includes our future. It’s hard, but I challenge you to write down the things that are most important to you. Prayerfully consider giving those to God. If you can’t that’s okay, pray for faith and willingness to hand those things over. I promise it won’t be easy, but it will be so rewarding. Afterwards I felt so free knowing that I could give those things to God and not have to worry about them anymore, because sometimes they can be stressful. It was amazing to know my future wasn’t in my hands anymore, it was in His. I challenge you to do that. I promise it is worth it.
Detached sea star arms sometimes grow new bodies. (source: Weird but true! 2 National Geographic)