I am amazed at how quickly my current state, my now, can cloud even the greatest of promises for the future. So far during the church-planting journey there are many days when the pressures of the present have robbed me of the promises of tomorrow. I know that Good Life Church is a promise from God. I know that there are people who are hurting that will be healed, and people who are unloved that will be loved, and people who are now lost that will be found. I know that God’s plan for the church is way bigger than mine and it involves stories that I could never even dream up; all of this hope, all of this excitement, totally quenched in my heart and mind when the reality of the now comes crowding in. The reality of the now is transition, unanswered questions and financial need. The reality of the now is that life continues all around me as normal, but within me there is a pressure, a weight I have never felt before. A burden of leading people I don’t yet know in a place I don’t yet live. (*Side note- This burden, though real, needed some correction based on a verse my 8 year old son read over me last night Matthew 11:28-30) I know the future is bright, but I haven’t seen it peek out through the thickness of the unknown of my current state.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 is an amazing promise from God to His people.
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. 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.
Within this promise the people are assured that their future is secured in the hand, heart, and mind of God. Many people over the years have waived this verse as a banner for their unseen and unknown futures, as have I. But this morning as I read through it, the context made the promise sweeter than ever before. God’s promise to His people, giving them hope for the future is given to a people in exile. A people in a foreign land, under a foreign king and surrounded by a culture so far from what God was promising that it must have seemed impossible to fathom the words prosper, hope and future.
Jer. 29:14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
As I read this I felt like the fog from my current state was lifted and I could breath again. The promise for the future came to a people who were in a desperate present. My present isn’t as desperate, yet I have allowed it to blur the future enough to rob my joy for days at a time. This morning I realized that and am thankful for God’s faithfulness to speak to me and remind me that my future and that of Good Life Church is secure.