“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
Most mornings, I begin my day with prayer: “Lord, please help me see you list for my day, and not be blinded by my own to-do list.” All last week I prayed that prayer. With summer vacation, our family schedule is a bit off. Although I no longer need to plan lessons for school, many different and new responsibilities were weighing on my mind.
And, everyday, I needed to spend ninety minutes of my morning out on a soccer field while our youngest daughter attended soccer camp.
I bristled both in the heat as the sun relentlessly blazed upon my sunscreen slathered skin and as I recalled that list in my planner. Oh, how I relish the evenings with a crossed-off list!
But as the week unfolded, I slowly began to realize God had heard my morning prayer, and being at the soccer field was His answer!
The third morning I met a mom who offered to share her UV tent and some conversation with me. As we sat sequestered in the shade of the tent, I enjoyed getting to know her and her two young children.
The fourth morning was forecasted to be the hottest of the week. My new friend arrived without her two younger children in tow. After our soccer players took to the field, we began to talk. This time our conversation took a surprising twist: she shared how her childhood experiences with church were not only negative, but extremely painful. I heard her frustration and could clearly see how it had been a heart breaking experience.
After a pause and a prayer, I too opened up. I told her how, almost five years ago, my family and I had moved, had a baby, and how I was diagnosed with cancer. Our new church barely knew our family. But, they cared for our three children, drove me to treatments, and fed my family home cooked meals- for five months! They were in it for the long haul! In short, they were the hands and feet of Jesus! They were acting just as God calls us!
I also told her how sincerely sorry I was she had never known that type of love from a church.
I have always read the above verse and claimed it for myself: that God would truly prosper me. While that is true, soccer camp taught me to stop forever looking inward. Just maybe, God could use me as a vessel to help someone else find Him. How glad I am He used what I thought was “wasted time” to show me I can encourage others and hopefully, point them to Him.
And, at the end of the day, what could be more satisfying than crossing off God’s to-do list!
1) Memorize Jeremiah 29:11-13
2) How can I claim Jeremiah 29:11-13 for myself? For others?
3) How has God given you hope? Pray for opportunities to give hope to others.
4) Do I pray to God over my plans? Ask God to write your task list for today.
5) In your efforts to seek God, watch for opportunities to encourage others to rest in Him.
Thanks for your reading and your encouragement! Please return by Monday, July 2 for the next post!