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by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of March 9, 2014
"'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
So much as been said about prosperity gospel with an emphasis on financial prosperity. And I do believe that God created Adam and Eve to flourish in the Garden of Eden without sickness and disease, without poverty and without pain. But we live in a fallen world now.
Yes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” according to Hebrews 13:8. God does not will anyone to perish. Not a one of us. He desires we prosper in Him. He gifts us and equips us and lays out His precepts for us to live victoriously, which requires our submission and our obedience to His will. And it is powerful and wise to declare the word of God over our lives. But we also need to recognize that God has a timeline for our destinies and that our pathways are a unique process. So don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
Sometimes, we need to be patient and prove out righteousness and faith while God does a new thing (Is 43:19), a deep work in us, like in Job and like in Abraham. Sometimes, we need to be courageous like Joshua and Caleb as we take dominion and lead others. And of course, we always need to praise God like David, no matter what we experience along the way.
Jeremiah 29:11 isn’t magic. It is a reminder of redemption, that as we experience life—even the pain of life—God has purposed everything in ways we do not understand, and He will work it all for our good (Rom 8:28). When we feel ready to throw in the towel, that's just God getting our attention to turn to Him. We need to remember that God isn’t finished with us yet. The best is yet to come. He has more for us, just as He had more for Job. And God will awaken us to His purposes by His grace if we just don’t give up.
Your circumstances may look a certain way to you, but are you really seeing them with God’s eyes? What may seem to you as prospering may be harming; and what may seem to you as harming may actually be part of God’s plan to prosper you. Consider Isaiah 53:10-12 in reference to Father God’s plan for Jesus…
"But it was The Lord’s good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and The Lord’s good plan will prosper in His hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. I will give Him the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels."
With human eyes, Jesus’ painful divine mission to save us seemed to harm Him, even to the point of death: "...And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins" (Isaiah 53:4 )! But Father God saw it differently. Father God’s plan was to prosper Jesus and us! It looked like harm to humans, but it was, in fact, God’s plan for prosperity, for abundant life for all who would believe!
Points to consider along your journey: