I was reflecting on this verse today as I sat at my desk, working remotely from St Petersburg, my mind wondering for a moment (as it tends to do in these times). How true it is that generally in hindsight God gets the most credit, but in the here and now we can too easily think He is having zero input into our lives.
Take the word prosper. So often is it just defined as financial wealth, but its more than that. So much more. God would have us prosper in every way - to thrive, to succeed, to be successful people - in every way too.
Take my life, as an example. Looking back just ten years ago I was doing the year team, in Stockport, having moved up about six months before. So I was about half way through that year. I had met Rachel, we were together now, probably just about bought the rings, though we are a few weeks of our engagement in March and 6 months from our wedding.
The move itself had been a step of faith. God had said Russia and Salvation, and then seemed to show me that Manchester was the next step in this process. So I'd left my career in London, in the financial word. I'm now about the same age as the guys I worked for. Then, the world would have said "Why are you leaving? Don't you want to get rich?" I guess the world would have expected me to be earning now the kind of salaries they were earning then....six and usually high seven digit amounts. Millions.
And then I think of stock market crashes and global melt-downs, and I wonder....would there even have been much of a career? Are they even still in business?
And what of my life since? Ten years ago today I was unmarried, not yet engaged. I had no job. I lived with a family from the church in Stockport. My worldly possessions could fit in the boot of my car.
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD
Then I had little idea of the wonders that God had in store - my beautiful wife who just is a rock for me. My two beautiful daughters who bring me so much joy. They have really completed our family. Moving to Russia, living in St Petersburg. Learning to speak Russian, raising our girls here. Being part of a great church. Working into many more nations.....
When God say's things like that recorded in Jeremiah, we really need to listen in the present, and not just reflect on the past. God say's to you today that He has great plans for you these coming years, and they are plans to make you thrive, to be successful and to bring you fulfillment. Isn't that exciting!
I'm amazed when I look back on these last ten years - I regret none of it, as hard as it was at times, because it has made me into someone I would never have been if I'd done it my own way. I'm a different person to back then - yes older, certainly wiser and a little more experienced, but I'm different because God has allowed me to thrive by leading me into seasons, however good or bad they are at the time, where I'd grow in those times and come out stronger on the other side.
And believe it or not, I'm still quite young - there's so much more to come. I look with excitement to these next ten years. Where ever you lead me Lord, I will go. I know your plans are to bless me. So into your plans I commit myself, what ever they look like.
Why don't you pray the same....and then, some time down the line, drop me a line to tell me how things worked out. That would be nice.
Blessings, and thanks for reading.