by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
This has been a tough year for a lot of reasons, and Thanksgiving only made it tougher. My grandpa died in March, and for the first time in my life, he wasn’t sitting in his place at our table. I cried as I made his favorite pumpkin pie and remembered he wouldn’t get to eat it.
The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time of celebration. It’s Jesus’ birthday, for crying out loud. Light the candles and drink some eggnog, right? But it’s not so joyful for everyone. Depression is often at its highest during the Christmas season. Some days are just a battlefield.
It’s difficult to be joyful when I miss people who aren’t here anymore. It’s a challenge to keep moving forward when all of my dreams are still on hold. It’s hard to hope when my circumstances tell me that nothing is going to change.
Then I remember Jeremiah 29:11.
Many believers know the verse, but it’s really powerful when we remember to whom it was written: God’s people while they were in captivity. Let me tell you, I don’t think Americans understand that level of loss and hopelessness. How could we? We’ve never been in captivity. We’ve never even been invaded.
But Israel was. They were invaded and captured and carted away into slavery and obscurity. And then God sends the prophet Jeremiah to give them this news: “I’ve got a plan. It’s a good plan too.” If I were them, I’d laugh in Jeremiah’s face (actually, I think they probably did, and then they threw him in jail, but that’s another story).
I mean, there they were, enslaved and terrified and grieving the loss of their home, and God has the nerve to tell them that He’s got a plan?
The word our English Bible uses for know actually means to see, as in God knows what’s coming because He’s already seen it. He lives outside the confinements of time. The word we translate as plans is almost like the word engineer. It’s complex. It has lots of moving pieces. And it’s always in motion.
When you read it that way, this isn’t God spouting platitudes. He didn’t send His prophet with empty words to bring temporary comfort to anyone who’d listen. This is God making a promise—that He knows the future, because He’s seen it, and it’s a good future. This is God telling His people that’s He’s got this. They may be in captivity now, but they aren’t going to stay there. He’s got a plan, He’s working it out, so His people should have hope.
And if captive Israel could have hope, so can I.
I miss my grandpa, but I know where he is, because my grandpa knows Jesus. My dreams may be on hold, but God will finish what He started in me. And through God’s power, I am an overcomer, so my circumstances can’t dictate my success.
Those are God’s promises, and He always keeps His promises. So no matter what happens, I can choose to hope, because God has a future for me. He’s seen it. And it’s so good.
About the author: A.C. Williams is an author-preneur who weaves fantastic tales about #AmericanSamurai and #SpaceCowboys, and she’s passionate about helping writers master the art of storytelling. A quirky, coffee-drinking, cat-loving thirty-something, she’s on a mission to help authors overcome fear and live victorious. Join her adventures on social media (@free2bfearless) and visit her website, www.amycwilliams.com.
Join the conversation: What are your hopes for the holiday season?