11 I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11, CEB
Although this verse has a very specific historical context, I still love it today. I don’t use it as a magic rabbit’s foot of faith – allowing me all sorts of latitude about how I live because I figure God will work it all out in the end – that’s not how I think about the passage.
But what I do remember when I read this verse is the kind of God that I worship. Here are a few characteristics of God that I hold onto in times of suffering AND in times when I’m celebrating.
God has his people in mind. He thinks about us. This fits in the category of too big for me to understand. Who am I that God would think of me (or even us for that matter)? But he does, and I do not grant myself the luxury of making up theology to fit my own limited perspective. So this I believe, as a spiritual discipline: God considers his people.
God’s disposition towards us, even when we’ve messed up, remains steady – he has plans that are for peace, not disaster. He isn’t petty or vengeful. He wants our future to be filled with hope.
I don’t always FEEL these things, but I discipline myself to BELIEVE and ACT on these things, as a being who reflects God in my world.
These last few weeks of the year, I’m putting feet to my gratitude and trying to think about how I might reflect God in my giving. I’m not talking about the perfect presents under the tree. I’m thinking about how my PRESENCE matters. I acknowledge that presence can also involve giving gifts and making fudge and sausage balls. That’s ok too. But I am actively practicing remembering that this is because of who God is and who I am, not because retailers tell me it is the Season.