(3rd in a series of seven blogs on Jeremiah 29:10-14)
There once was an old man who was very poor. In an attempt to take care of his family, he pooled all of his money and bought a horse. The people in town thought that this was a foolish thing to do because “things happen to horses.” Sure enough, a few days later, the horse was missing. The town’s people came to the poor old man and said: “Oh what a tragedy!” But the old man was very wise and replied, “We don’t know yet if this is going to be a tragedy or a blessing.” A few days later, the horse returned, and trailing behind him was a herd of 15 wild horses. Again, the town’s people came back to the old man and said, “You were right! This was a blessing and not a tragedy.” But, again, the old man an-answered, “Well, we really don’t know yet if this is a blessing or a tragedy.” A few days later, his only son was breaking in one of the wild mustangs when he was thrown. While lying on the ground, the horse trampled him and shattered his leg. The town’s people returned, saying: “It’s true, what a tragedy! Your only son is now crippled for life!” But this happened right before the war started and all the other young men from the town were called away to WAR. And none returned. When the people from the town came to speak to the old man, they said, “Now, we understand.”
The message of that little story is that we shouldn’t be so quick to determine if what God is doing in our lives is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ God has plans for us, and they are always good. “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. (Jeremiah 29:11)” (see previous 2 blogs for background information)
Not only does God have plans for us, they are GOOD plans. So why do we often think that if we totally submit to God and tell Him He can do anything He wants with us, that it will be painful and miserable? Why do we think that if we surrender totally to Him He’ll send us to Africa to live in a mud hut and eat raw insects? God has GOOD plans for us – not to change circumstances so we don’t need to trust Him, but to change us within so we draw closer to Him.
Note, too, that He alone knows the plans – we don’t. We can’t. He just reveals them bit by bit as we trust and obey. If we knew the whole plan we’d balk, complain and try to ‘improve’ it. But God knows our tomorrows better than we know our yesterdays. He sees the whole perspective. Shouldn’t it be great to know our future is in the hands of Someone who knows everything about the future as well as us and is committed to bringing about the very best for us?
He promises to prosper us, not to harm us. He guarantees to do what we need, even if it isn’t always what we want. He can be counted on to do what we would want if we had all the information He has. He may not prosper us financially, but that is temporary. He will prosper us spiritually, and that is eternal.
So if God doesn’t give you what you pray for it’s because He has something far better in mind. (Doylestown, PA April 18, 2016)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Job 9:12 if he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
Job 5:9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
Job 37:23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
Are you guilty of evaluating everything that happens in life as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and second guessing God on what He is doing and why? Apologize to Him now if you are guilty of this.
Can you think of times in the past when you thought something God was doing wasn’t good, but now you can see the good results of it? Thank Him for that.
What situation are your now facing that your think isn’t good? Put your faith in Him instead.