“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.”
For a long time I hated that verse. It was during my 8 years of bitterness. I was numb and had walls as thick as the Hoover Dam all around me in order to keep people and pain out. This verse was the one that made me mad. The problem with walls and numbness: God can’t get in either. I felt like He was a million miles away. Like I was just some TV show and He was watching from a distance and not intervening or helping or guiding. So for Him to say that He has plans to prosper and not to harm me and to give me hope and a future, well…all of that was really hard to believe. Not only that, but the word “hope” was a curse word. I hated that word. It was a myth. There was no hope. It didn’t exist.
Of course, it came up all the time. And it still does. It’s everywhere. It’s everyone’s favorite go-to verse. Now I actually use it when talking with teens who need reminded that following God should be a priority in their lives. But, for the longest time I couldn’t stand to hear that verse and I would cringe whenever it was repeated.
I was bitter for quite some time, walled up, numb, afraid to be hurt again. Then recently, I opened up. I let people in. I shared. I trusted. I think God brought them into my life to soften my heart. Yes, I got hurt again. But people are only human. They may hurt you. They may break your heart. They may disappoint you. But God never will.
I had a talk with a friend today and I said God may let us fall but He will always pick us back up. If I would let Him carry me all the time instead of trying to live this life with my own strength then maybe I wouldn’t fall so much. I need to die daily as Paul did instead of every week or so when I don’t have the strength within myself to go on. I admitted today that I am the most screwed up person this friend of mine will ever meet but I think that is a good thing. If I didn’t understand my own limitations, if I wasn’t aware of my own shortcomings, if I thought I could do all of this by myself than I wouldn’t realize my need for a God who has plans to prosper me and not to harm me and to give me hope and a future.