Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Why ask Why?

Jeremiah 29:11 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." '

I wish someone would have shown me this verse when I was a kid.  I wish someone would have explained to me that the goings-on in my world were part of a bigger plan.  I wish someone would have told me that my experiences would lead me straight into the opportunity to meet the love of my life very early on, my field of study in college, my career, and would guide my own parenting choices and values for family.  It sure would have made enduring my life easier.

Lately, I've been reminded several times of this verse.  As I look back over all the things I've gone through, I am gently reminded that it truly was part of God's plan.  At times, it ticks me off that God would allow certain things to happen. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that!  I'm human and I get angry about my life, my family, my circumstances. We all do.  At other times, most of the time, though, I'm thankful that, with the pain, came a way out and a way to make it all make sense. 

Growing up with an alcoholic father, watching him disrespect, hit and belittle my mother, seeing him treat his children like we didn't matter and being treated as his own personal toy was no fun, to say the least. Watching my family grovel at his feet in fear was embarassing.  At the end of every day, I'd hope "Tomorrow, it'll be better" and I wondered if my mother would ever be strong enough.  I watched my brother and hoped that he'd be different.  I believed that I could be.

Someone asked me recently "How did you come out of it? What was it, about you, that made it different for you?" In fact, I get asked this question all the time - every time I tell my story.  I never really quite know what answer to give, so I always just speak from my heart and give the truth.  "It wasn't me.  It was God who brought me through it. I just always knew, in my heart, it would all be okay."

I don't have the glaring testimony that says I saw the "light" and knew, in an instant, I needed Christ in my life.  My story is quite the opposite.  All those days in my home that were scary and unpredictable, the nights I hoped it wouldn't happen again, the times I wished it would all just go away - I just knew, deep down, that even if nothing changed, I would be okay.  I knew that someone was protecting me and I'd be alright.  I knew that life would be different someday.  I never knew how, but I knew it would be.

I never saw Jesus in the corner, never saw a guardian angel, and I never saw the future.  It was just a feeling.  I believed there was an "other side" and I waited for it.

As an adult, when I read this verse and I really think about what it means, I guess I knew Jeremiah 29:11 all along. Christ was whispering this verse to my heart and I knew that I would come through the pain. His plan was never to harm me, but to prosper me; plans to give me a future.  A future that included a great husband, wonderful kids, amazing friends, a rewarding career and multiple opportunities to impact my world.  WOW! Those are the blessings of my experience!

So, as I look forward on my life and the adventures that may lie ahead, I have to trust in God's plan.  I know that he will not harm, but will prosper and provide hope. I will remember this verse and the promise therein. I will teach my children to trust in God's plan and to not be fearful.  It won't always be easy, but the importance of the lesson is undeniable. Life isn't supposed to be scary.  Its supposed to bring us closer to God, and when we trust in Him, there's no way to stay away from Him. 

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