Have you ever wondered if God has plans for your life? If God is all-knowing, then he must know what the future holds. But does God have specific plans for your life? Or is it up to you to make your plans and then ask God to bless them?
God has great plans for each one of his children.
I am so glad to know this because I am not a good planner. And even if I were the best planner in the world, my thoughts and plans are nothing compared to God’s wonderful plans for me. In the days of Jeremiah, when Israel was in captivity in Babylon, he wrote to the first of the exiles who had been carried into captivity there. False prophets were urging them to rebel against their captors, but Jeremiah told them essentially to make themselves at home, to build houses, plant crops, get married, have children, and even seek the welfare of the city they’d been taken to, because they would be there for 70 years. But after 70 years, God would visit them and fulfill his promise to bring them back to their homeland. He says:
“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:10-11
When the captives looked at their situation, they probably felt hopeless. Here they were in a foreign land. Probably felt abandoned by God. False prophets were telling them to rebel against these pagan captors. But then Jeremiah sends them a letter. He tells them not to fret, not to try to escape, not to rebel against the Babylonians, but to settle in. WHY? BECAUSE HE HAD PLANS FOR THEM. And in the right time, after 70 years, GOD WOULD FULFILL HIS PLANS FOR THEM.
And because God had plans for them, they needed to TRUST GOD. They should live their lives there, and not be fearful, for God had plans. God even told them to seek the welfare of the city they had been carried to, to seek its welfare, and to pray for its welfare. God assured his people that he had plans for them. That assurance from God was intended to give them peace and help them trust the Lord to protect them, provide for them, and fulfill his plans for them.
We who have trusted Jesus are now God’s chosen people, like Israel was. And we are also exiles and foreigners living in a land that is not our home:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:9-11
Like Israel, we too need to trust that God has plans for us.
We can apply God’s words to Israel to our own lives as well. First of all,
God has plans for EACH of his children.
I know the plans I have for YOU, declares the Lord. Plans for every single one of his children. He has plans for each one of us who believe in him. God has good plans for each one of YOU.
God has GOOD plans for us –
plans for welfare and not for evil
God tells us in Psalm 31:
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! PS 31.19
God has goodness, ABUNDANT GOODNESS, stored up for us. God has bags and bags of grace he is just waiting to pour out on us. And in the right time he will pour it out on us.
No one and nothing can thwart God’s plans to pour out his abundant goodness on us.
We make plans but sometimes they go haywire. Because we don’t know the future. We can’t control people. We might make plans to go somewhere then get a flat tire. We might make plans to visit a relative then we get sick. But no one and nothing can stop God’s plans.
Satan and all the demons in hell can’t thwart God’s plans. No human can thwart God’s plans. The Babylonians might have felt like they were in control of Israel, but even the mightiest nation on earth at the time would not be able to derail God’s plans for his people.
Nothing can stop God from fulfilling his plans for you. Not even your own failures.
God is in control of all things. He is in control of every molecule in the universe. When Satan wanted to afflict Job, he had to ask God for permission and God would say, “You can do this and this but you can’t do this.” Satan himself must obey God. He can’t go one thousandth of an inch further than God allows him.
We don’t have to know God’s plans for us – We just have to trust God.
When Israel was in Babylon, they didn’t need to know how God was going to work out his plans to bring them back to their homeland, they simply needed to trust God.
My son David and his wife made plans to take their daughter to Disney World. But they didn’t tell her. She was supposed to go on a field trip and they told her that she was going to have to miss the field trip because they were going somewhere else. Their daughter Harper cried and cried because she was going to miss the field trip. Then they told her they were taking her to Disney World. Then she started crying tears of joy and laughing and was so excited.
God’s ultimate plan for us: to make us like Christ.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 1 CO 15.49
We will be like Christ! We will be clothed in glory! We can’t imagine how incredible this is. CS Lewis said if we could see someone now in the glory they will have in heaven we’d be tempted to fall down and worship them.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
When someone joins the army, the army has plans for them. Plans to change them. Plans to make them strong. Plans to teach them how to use weapons. And they take them through boot camp and all kinds of training.
God takes us through all kinds of things to make us more and more like Christ. Sometimes those things seem hard, but remember that God is good and he has good plans for us. We can’t always see those plans in the moment, but we can know that his plans are good.
God has plans that we will know him and enjoy him forever. Plans to reward us and bless us.
God’s plans give us a future and a hope.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. JER 29.11
God told Israel to trust him when they were sojourners and exiles, because he had plans to bless them. He had plans for their welfare, their good. Plans to bless them. Plans to give them a future and a hope. When we believe in Jesus we have a FUTURE and we have A HOPE. If this life were all there was, we would have no hope. But we have so much to hope for!
We will be raised from the dead.
And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 1 Corinthians 6:14
We will have new spiritual bodies. Imperishable bodies. Bodies without sickness or pain.
So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 CO 15:42-44
We will be like Christ and gaze upon his face.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:2
We will be with Christ forever.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
When my mother got Alzheimer’s she would often say, “When I die, don’t cry. CELEBRATE! Because I will be with Jesus!”
Christ will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Like Israel in Babylon, we are sojourners and exiles here in this world. But let us never forget, God has wonderful, unbelievable plans for us. Plans to pour out abundant goodness upon us. Plans to make transform us into the very likeness of Christ. Plans to clothe us in unbelievable glory. And nothing can stop him from fulfilling his amazing plans for us.