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
What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions God’s will? What’s your first emotion? Do you cringe? Are you filled with dread? Do you wonder, “What’s he going to do to me?”
Even in Jeremiah’s passage (above) God says to his people that his plans are to prosper and not to harm… Astonishingly, it appears that God has to reassure his own children that he intends good for them instead of evil. What sort of Father do we envision him to be? Must we be convinced that he’s not there to punish us or injure us?
Imagine going into your child or your grandchild’s room, and his reaction is to cower and visibly cringe before you. Surely, those we love don’t react to us in this manner. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you. Just relax.”
And yet, when we contemplate the will of God, we’re sometimes filled with misgivings. If I abandon myself completely to him, what dreadful thing will he require? The truth is more like, “I will lead you in green pastures where there are still waters. You won’t need anything, and being with me will refresh you. Yes, you’ll go through times of difficulties, but there’s no call to be afraid because I’ll always be there. Not only will I meet your needs, but I’m the God of abundance. The cup-running-over God. And I’ve already prepared your place with me for eternity.”
Have you ever noticed the lies that are couched in fear? What if? What if I trust him with all my heart? What if I cast myself on him? What will happen? And the lies rush in filling us with dire images of anything but a loving Father. Away with them all. Move into truth.
“…whoever does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:17). Romans (12:2) describes the will of God as good and acceptable and perfect. Let us carelessly fling ourselves onto our Father relishing and enjoying his love and, in turn, giving him great joy in our abandon.
Father, with the psalmist, I delight to do your will. Your law is within my heart. Be exalted. Be blessed. In your Son Jesus’ name. AMEN.