Sunday, December 12, 2010

Knowing God - Jeremiah 29:11


"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD.
"They are plans for good and not for disaster,
plans to give you a hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11
I do not know how I possibly missed this verse until a few years ago.
Now it is one of my absolute favorites!
Today we begin our third week of Advent -- the candle (and week) of hope.
And today I'll tell you what I tell so many people in counseling: Can't see much hope? God has plans for you. Can't see a path forward? God has plans for you. Does some mistake or consequence seem disasterous? God wants to give you "a hope and a future."
Indeed, have you been knocked down lately? Well, here's our Advent Adventure ... I want you to strap on the helmet of a college football running back.  
Now, think about this ... In order for you to run for an almost impossible 300 yards in your next game, you'll have to carry the ball about 40 times. That means you'll probably get knocked down about 40 times.
How many of us say, "I'm not going to try because I don't want to get knocked down again"? No! Life will always knock us down. Sin and death define this world, but Christ has conquered this world. So strap on your football helmet -- and take up the promises from Jeremiah 29:11 -- and charge forward today. 
For a moment, I pray that you'll break through the hole and see a bit of daylight. Those are glorious runs. But that run will come to an end. Tackle! Knocked down. But just pick yourself up, brush yourself off, gather back in the huddle with the quarterback (God) and the rest of your team (your church and anyone faithful who has your back), and charge forward to daylight again.
Indeed, charge forward to victory! To a hope! To God's future!
In Christ's Love,
a guy who always wanted to be
a college football running back
(apparently, I still can)
Football analogies are basically lost on me. But I do know enough to know that there are times the player gets knocked down so hard that they can't get back up and have to be transported off the field and is unable to return to play.  That can happen in life. You get knocked down one too many times that the mere thought of getting up yet again is exhausting. Hope is fleeting. Emily Dickinson wrote: "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul..." Birds never stay perched in any one spot for long. Hope is something that is never truly around for long either ...

However, this verse was the basis for a song I like very much:
I Know the Plans by Waterdeep
You talk of hating war
But where's your own peacetime?
You don't love anymore
All my children
You linger in your mind
"everyone's so unkind"
But you forget about the mines
you laid on your land

I know the plans I have for you
I know the things that I want for you to do
I know the plans I have for you
and it hurts sometimes to see you blind

You read up on the lies
And keep them in motion
So clever the disguise of devotion
You tell Me there's no time
But there you stand joking
But you forgot that I'm the one
Who weighs the words you've spoken

I know the plans I have for you
I know the things that I want for you to do
I know the plans I have for you
And it hurts sometimes to see you cry

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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