I have always been a planner. I remember planning my life when I was 5. All the plans I made were those I thought, in my 5 year old brain, would bring me happiness. I was going to be the First Lady (because that was as close to a queen you could get in America!). I was going to have 2 kids; a boy first so he could protect his younger sister. Those were my plans. Not a lot of detail but enough to send my imagination soaring on summer afternoons.
God makes plans for us too. In Jeremiah 29: 10-12 God lays out the plans he has for the children of Israel. He says; “10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
These promises were given to people about to lose everything. Their country, the promised land, the temple, everything because of their rebellion and disobedience. Yet God was giving them a promise. He was giving a promise for generations to come. For those who would be born during the exile. He was reminding them of the promise that he would fulfill.
The Character of God never changes and his plans for us never change. But the interesting thing about God’s plans is that he never says that they are to make us happy. God is much more concerned with our holiness than he is with our happiness. This truth is the reason God allows us to suffer and go through hard times.
God allows us to suffer financial ruin, relationship strain, illness, and the death of loved ones all so that we will run straight into his arms and allow his strength to carry us through. His plans are for character building, relationship building, trust building and our utter reliance on Him.
God is more concerned with our character than he is our comfort. His plans for us always include those lessons that will shape us into who we need to be for eternity. God’s focus is eternity. He isn’t worried about what is temporal.
Over the last year I have watched God’s plans in my life. What I had planned for my happiness, he stripped away and revealed His plans for my character and my holiness. These included stripping away relationships. Removing the mask which I had become so accustomed to but which was slowly suffocating me. Taking away the security I held so dear to teach me whom I should be relying on. And finally, reminding me that it is only through His grace and mercy I call him Father. In the last year I have learned what it is to be completely broken before God. And I have watched as he chipped away the plans I held onto for so long.
I have decided to rest in the fact the God knows the plans he has for me. They are plans for hope and a future. They are plans for a new prayer on my lips. They are plans for holiness and character for eternity. These are not what I planned when I was 5 but they have always been His plans.