GOD PROMISES TO HEAR & RESPOND
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. Then you will call upon 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. Jeremiah 29:11-13
Because of their disobedience to God, He eventually let His people go into captivity in Babylon. God directed Jeremiah, who was still back in the land, to write a letter to the ones who had been taken away captive. God gave them several assurances, promises from Him.
“I know the plans I have for you.” God has plans for each one of us. He created us, knows us and has unique plans for every one of us. Life is not empty or meaningless. We are not worthless or meaningless. God has plans for us. We are needed and valuable to God Himself. That should be very reassuring to know!
We don’t have to try to sell him on our plans for ourselves, but should simply trust Him with His plans for us as He gradually unveils them to us. We shouldn’t compare His plans for us with His plan for someone else. God has different plans for each of His children, but all are equally good for His glory and our growth.
Sometimes the plans may seem difficult, like God’s plans for Job to glorify Him. Job suffered, but God is still glorified through his faithfulness, and Job was blessed at the end and for all eternity. His servant Lazarus experienced death only to be brought back to life. Showing His power over death brought great honor to Jesus, and Lazarus’ experience must have brought blessing to him.
“Plans to prosper and not to harm you.” These are good plans that are to our spiritual benefit. Even in captivity as a consequence of sin, God has something good for His people. That should be comforting to us as well. Sometimes we fear submitting to God’s will because we are concerned, He may want us to do something too difficult or painful. But God has no plans to harm us, just to grow us.
“Plans to give you hope and a future.” Even when it seems God has deserted us or we have gone far from Him, He still has good plans for us. His plans for us are better than any plans we could have for ourselves. The prodigal son had run far from his father, but the father still had a place and a future for him when he returned (Luke 15:11-32).
“I will listen to you.” God promises to hear us and respond to our need. The truthfulness of this promise is seen throughout the Bible, as well as in our own lives.
Then comes the condition: that we “call upon Him and come and pray to Him.” When the Jews truly turn to God for help, He will be there waiting to take care of them. He is the same with us today. When we seek Him, He will hear and respond.
When we call, though, we must “seek Him with all our heart.” There can be nothing casual about this. It can’t just be idle curiosity on our part. It must be total, sincere, fully committed pursuing of God Himself in all areas of our lives. Jacob sought God’s blessing so much in his life that he wrestled with the Angel of God and wouldn’t let go until he was blessed (Genesis 32:24-28).
If we only seek Him out of selfish motives, for our own benefit and ease, then He won’t hear us. But if we seek Him selflessly, with a desire to serve and follow Him no matter what, He will hear and answer. Could this be why so many Christians don’t hear from Him, they are seeking Him for their selfish ends, not His godly ones? Could that be true of me? Could it be true of you?
Do you believe God has plans, good plans, for you? Are you willing to patiently trust Him for them to come about? Are you seeking His plan for your life with all your heart and being?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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