Right now, everything in my life seems to be going smoothly. I feel great, like I am on track and in the place I am meant to be. I don’t seem to be struggling with any major issues. Instead, I feel close to God and in sync with the universe. There have been several times in my life when this has not been the case. I have struggled to figure out who I am, who I am called to be, where I fit in, and what good I can do in the world. Each time I have felt frustrated by my lack of direction, I have been offered the same scriptural answer. When I have struggled to find my place, someone I love and trust has, for one reason or another, quoted this scripture to me. I have heard it so many times, from so many wise spiritual guides, that I know this quote is meant for me:
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. Jeremiah 29:11
The first time I was given this scripture, I did not find it reassuring. My question was “When?” When was God going to give me this hope and this future? I wanted peace and I wanted it NOW! Although I did have faith in God, I did not have much trust that God cared about me as an individual or about my future. By about the third time someone offered this scripture to me, though, I began to take notice. Perhaps it was true that God had some plans in mind for me and could use me to do some good in the world.
At this point in my life, I can look back and see how everything that has happened to me throughout the years has brought me exactly to this point. Here I am, in the center of those wonderful plans that were first foretold to me all those years ago. I never could have imagined myself in this place. I never could have imagined that the hardships that I have endured would make me this person that could listen this well and understand on this level and feel this much compassion and love this much. How could I have dreamed where God would lead me? How could I have known that, at age 49, I would be completely, utterly, totally filled with joy? That I would wake up every morning thrilled to face the day and embrace each event as it occurs and love each person that I meet? How could I have known that I would find peace and learn to accept and love myself at last.
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. Now, when I am uncertain about anything, I can take solace in this scripture because I know it is true. I have lived it. I have seen it with my own eyes and felt it with my own heart. Those times that I could not see the future and wondered with fear what it might hold and hung on with all my might and survived have paid off.
Somehow, I want to let other people know that this scripture is true. Just as my wise spiritual guides gave me this scripture as a lifeboat when I was struggling, I want to offer it to others who can’t seem to find their direction or their calling. “Hang on!” I want to say. “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.” All will be revealed in time. Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle. Keep walking in faith. Direction will come. Plans will be revealed. Joy will be yours. I am living proof.