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.”
I have a confession to make. In the past, that verse had a tendency to anger me more than encourage me. Years of hardship and struggle left me wondering if the verse really applied to me and my life. And then a new storm hit. This storm was ferocious. I couldn’t find my footing. I couldn’t find my way out. I was scared, disoriented and exhausted. In tears on the phone with a dear friend one day recently, she whispered, “Kathy. Have you asked God what he’s trying to reveal to you in this storm?”
No. No I hadn’t. I had begged God to get me out of the storm. I had panicked, not understanding what was going on. I had worshipped in tears, trying to find peace. But I hadn’t stopped to ask God what He was trying to show me. So, I did as my friend suggested and asked God to please reveal what I needed to know – what He needed me to see. And then I waited.
The answer didn’t come right away. The storm was so intense that it took a few weeks and a few more people to help me find my footing and the beginning of a way out. And then I finally understood. I had been on a path, headed in a direction that I wanted to go in, that I thought was right, but it wasn’t from Him. I wasn’t trying to be disobedient, but I was not in His will and He was making that clear. The more I sought God, often through a haze of pain and tears, and the more I asked for wisdom and understanding, the clearer it became. God saw what I couldn’t see and He, in his infinite love, protected me from making a very serious and costly mistake that would have impacted the rest of my life. It was a painful lesson that required painful life changes in the moment, but His protection saved me from devastating heartache in the future.
Let me encourage you too. If you are going through difficulties that don’t make sense, stop and ask God what He’s trying to show you. If you are diligent in seeking His face and patient in waiting for the answer, He will respond. He wants to prosper you and sometimes that means that pruning has to happen now in order for new life to appear. Pruning is painful, but I promise, it’s worth it. Don’t let the comfort of the moment or fear of the unknown stop you from making changes that will lead to the plans God has for you. Even when we can’t see what those plans are and feel that the future isn’t what we had hoped for, His plans are so much better for us and greater than what we could imagine for ourselves.