We have heard at some point how someone says that if they could speak to themselves when they were younger this is what I would say. Now this is a very interesting thought because I never found myself even thinking about that until recently. So I guess it comes with age as we look back on our lives and wonder what might have been.
Yesterday I was playing golf with some friends. It was a great day to play and for the most part, we played pretty well. I did hit one drive that I thought was going to be perfect but it clipped a tree at the end so it cost me some distance. However, all in all, it was a good day.
Well, as we were riding along and talking, we talked about what was going on and it got back to what we had experienced in life. My friend is a great guy and we have known each other for probably 45-50 years or so. He was a very successful businessman and is now retired. We were just talking about things and I asked him if he was doing anything and he mentioned he still had a property he leased out. He works around properties they have and they travel.
He asked me an interesting question. He said you used to be in law enforcement, didn't you? Well, I had as an auxiliary deputy about 40-plus years ago. I mentioned to him that I enjoyed those years but of course, I admitted Elaine didn't particularly care for them. Then I said, "you know God knew what He was doing in not allowing me to pursue that career".
Now that is only one small part of my life as it only lasted about 5 years. I learned a lot in those 5 years and appreciated the experiences. They are as important in defining my life as any of the other years. We have to go through times in life that are all a part of making who we are and what we become.
We have never said this is what we want our life to be and focused our efforts on getting to that place. Yes, when we first married we dreamed of graduating from school and moving to Atlanta. At that time, it was a place we thought we could see ourselves living and building a life. It was a dream but God had other plans.
We often as believers go the Scripture and in Jeremiah 29:11 New International Reader's Version we read-
11 I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.
We find this verse in the letter that Jeremiah writes to the captives in Babylon. I would encourage you to read that chapter because God is giving them direction on what to do with their lives. We learn something very important when we read an account like this in Scripture. We learn the mind and thoughts of God and they are there to show us how He works and what He is leading us to do in our lives.
In this particular part of Scripture, we learn that like His people in captivity, we can hear Him saying to us-
"I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come".
We are His people because of Jesus Christ and the salvation we have received through Him. It makes all the sense in the world that God would have a plan for your life. I knew all along that He did have a plan for my life. Now as I look back on my life I can see how His plan has been accomplished.
When you read this verse in other translations you will find a subtle word difference. They don't change the meaning or the intent of a God's Word but they do allow us to consider more so and we can understand just how wonderful and providing God is to us. In the New International Version says-
"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 want you to note that subtle difference that focuses on something we all want in life. The word in the NIV is prosper whereas others will say like the New International Reader's Version is to enjoy success.
Here is the importance of what we see in this verse. When we see prosper we conclude God is simply going to bless us with success regardless of what we do. Now don't dare say come on Pastor that's not true. Why, because it is true but God does want you to prosper but as we saw He wants us to enjoy success and that means He wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labor. He will help us accomplish it but we have to try to succeed.
There is a very important word that you have heard recently used to describe what is to be happening in our country. The word is meritocracy and it is defined as follows in the Cambridge Dictionary-
Are we to help others? Of course we are, but we help noone by simply handing them a position or provision. To put it simply, just because...
The point is that as I look back on my life I know that God had a plan. We have loved that plan and in it, we did what we needed and should have done. God was with us and He never left us nor forsook us. So would we change anything? Of course not, but we would certainly have preferred that we had not had to deal with certain things.
You will remember that last week I shared with you a quote ..."what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger" from Friedrich Nietzsche in his book Twilight of the Idols. Again, we can see that those things that make up our life are intended to grow us and to grow closer to the Lord.
You might have heard of the little boy who was asked what the word Bible mean? His response was basic information before leaving earth. That is exactly right it is the information we need to have here before we leave this earth and make our way into glory. We learn how to live this life and what is necessary for us to know to have eternal life.
In God's Grace,