To say that 2020 hasn’t gone according to plan is an understatement. Coronavirus has disrupted everything from family gatherings to world events. The Olympic Games have been postponed for the first time since World War II, the performing arts have come to a standstill, and thousands of communities have had to cancel events they rely on for revenue. Individuals have lost loved ones, jobs, and countless hopes and dreams. Grief and disappointment hang like a dark cloud that blocks the sun.
The Israelites certainly understood the disappointments and losses that come with having your world turned upside down. They refused to heed God’s warnings and were carried into exile by the conquering Babylonians. Imagine their sorrow at being in a foreign land, knowing that their Holy City was in ruins and that the magnificent temple built by Solomon had been looted and destroyed. (See 2 Kings 24 and 25).
Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised he would bring them back from exile after seventy years (Jer. 29:10), but that was a life sentence for some of them. Many must have thought God had abandoned them, but he hadn’t.
‘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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jer. 29:11-13).
At the moment, it’s hard to understand why the pandemic and its aftermath have occurred, but God sees the big picture. The Israelites returned from exile, but they weren’t the same people. They brought back with them the lessons they’d learned along the way.
Will we trust in God’s promises and seek his ways in these uncertain times?
Dear Lord, even though I don’t always understand why difficult circumstances come, help me to seek you in these times and trust in your promises. Thank you that you give me hope and a future. I commit my plans into your hands. Amen.
Q1 Which of your plans have been disrupted in this season? How are you coping with those disruptions?
Q2 Read Proverbs 16:1-9. Is there anything that would stop you from committing your plans to God?