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Good Purposes

3

“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

Jeremiah wrote these words to God’s people who were living in exile in Babylon. They had been dragged away from their home country and were living in a tough, tough situation. Their prospects looked bleak.

Jeremiah wanted to remind them that God had good intentions for them. God was involved with them, working for their good. Even though their immediate moment was difficult, their eternal God was good.

This week we’re going to be studying Jeremiah 29, the letter the prophet wrote to the community that was living in exile. As we study this passage, we’ll see principles that shape the way we think about and live out our relationships with other people, especially our marriage relationships.

But before we fully lean into that, we wanted to pause to say that this week will be an “all y’all” week. We say over and over again that we are an “all y’all” church. Being an “all y’all” church shows up in the way we pitch in to help on serving teams and to help out with Chatham Kids. But it also means that we’re involved with helping each other navigate through life. We’re connected with each other.

God’s plans are not just for us as individuals. He has plans for us as a community: to do good in our midst and through us. Together, we can be a blessing to each other and the world.

How have you seen God’s good purposes for you on display through your church community?

3 Comments

Many thanks!

One of the things that jumps out to me from this verse, Jan, is actually the strange context in which we find it. People living in exile would have to struggle to believe this verse too. It calls for patience and trust. And it amounts to a tremendous risk. If we live our lives as if God is going to work out his good purposes for us (at least in part) in the here and now, we risk disappointment and embarrassment. But I think that that's always the case with loving trust. There's no such thing as love and trust without risk.

As far as this goes with prayer, I hear ya on that. Every prayer has a rider on it: "If this would be good" or "If this would be best" or "If this is what you, Lord, want." This is one reason it can be helpful to have friends praying with us and for us when it comes to the things we really, really desire. They can help us get over that hesitation. They can soften the sting if what we want to have happen doesn't happen. And they can, with their enthusiasm, bless us to keep praying.

I struggle with this verse: on one hand it is one of my favorite verses but in honesty I have problems believing it in the present. In other words, God's plans for us in heaven are good but since 1999 I feel that on earth God expects us to struggle and face loss so we hopefully turn to Him. It is hard for me to pray for something I really desire because I fear God will not allow it.

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