“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.” Jer 29:11 NIV
We’ve all read Jeremiah 29:11. But, have you ever wondered what prosper means in that context? Do you think we are all meant to do “great things”?
I think we all grow up with big dreams and aspirations. We will be the first person on Mars. We will be the first woman president of the United States. We will win a Grammy.
What if God’s plan for us is to help someone else reach those goals?
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Mat 6:9-13
In the Lord’s Prayer, we are instructed to pray for God’s will to be done. Not our will, but God’s.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Th 5:16-18
In 1 Thessalonians, we are instructed to pray continually and be grateful in all circumstances. That doesn’t mean we will all be successful at everything we set out to do. In every race or contest, there will be a winner and a loser. That’s part of life. That’s part of God’s plan.
If we are honest, we can probably agree that it’s not always easy to be thankful for everything. Yet, that’s exactly what we are instructed to do. Big or small, be thankful. Even, if we are the ones who lost the race.
God’s plan for me may be to play a small part in His very large plan for another person. It may even be someone I’ve never met.
What if His plan for me is to make a wonderful casserole and to take dinner to a sick friend? I have a friend whose husband is a surgeon. If she’s sick and I take dinner to her family, her husband may be able to stay at work and save someone’s life and that person may eventually go on to cure cancer.
When God says he has plans to prosper us, that doesn’t mean we will all win the lottery. Maybe “prosper” in this context means we will simply be able to buy groceries and make our house payment for the month. God’s idea of prosper and ours can be completely different. But rest assured he doesn’t plan to harm us.
I’ve never aspired to be the first woman President, or an astronaut, or win a Grammy. But, I have a daughter. And maybe just maybe, the laundry I do for her, the dinners I make for her or the lessons I teach her will help her to go on to cure cancer or do a favor for someone making it possible for them to do those great things.
Whether God’s plan for me is big or small, I know He will work out all things for his good and I need to give thanks and be joyful in all circumstances.