I have always liked to set personal goals in life. I enjoy the sense of pondering what is important to me and what I would like to achieve, and then working out a plan for how to achieve it, and then implementing that plan and enjoying both the sense of achievement and the satisfaction as my goal is realised. This process however presupposes that we are each in control of our own lives.
Of course, on many levels we are in control of the decisions we make about our lives day-to-day. However, that viewpoint doesn't take into account what the Lord tells us in Jeremiah 29 verse 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."
In this passage the Lord isn't suggesting we set our own plans and He will do his best to fit in with them. He is telling us that He already has plans for us.
God wants us to know that we don't need to worry about what the future holds and that He knows what is in store for us.
In Matthew 6 verses 25-34 the bible reads: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
It is never helpful when a loving friend or family member tells us 'don't worry' about an issue that is really important to us or on our hearts. I have never once had a friend say to me 'don't worry, because I know exactly what is going to happen in your future you can look forward to it with hope'. But that is what God is telling us in this passage of the bible?
How absolutely wonderful and, when I meditate on this, utterly reassuring! I don't have to worry, because He knows what is in my future. As I read that passage I ask myself, why on earth have I spent so many minutes and hours of my life worrying? Perhaps that is because it is one thing to know something intellectually and it is another altogether to 'live it'. I expect it may take my lifetime to perfect what God has asked of me in this passage (unless He chooses to intervene earlier).
I have been given a real opportunity by God of late to practice what He has asked of us in Matthew 6 verses 25-34. I have been wrestling with wanting to be in control of my life. I know God wants me to trust Him and know the peace that comes from resting in His arms and trusting that He has plans for me.
Dear God, please help me daily to not worry about my life and instead to trust that You will reveal your plans to me for my future; plans that I can be confident will give me hope and a future. Amen.
Merewyn Foran is married and a marketing director of a not for profit homelessness agency in Melbourne.
Merewyn Foran's archive of previous articles can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/merewyn-foran.html