Call on Him First

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”

Jeremiah 29:11-12

God is always gracious toward us, even when we have to deal with the consequences of our sin. Such is the case with the children of Israel, who had turned their backs on God by worshipping idols. They were exiled into Babylonian captivity. However, this did not change God’s heart toward them. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised the Israelites that their captivity would last seventy years. During this time, they were to build houses, get married, have children, grow gardens, and live a peaceful life among their captives. They were even instructed to pray blessings over the Babylonians. If they obeyed God during this hard season, He promised to restore them to their homeland.

Sometimes we create hardships in our lives through acts of disobedience and a lack of dependence on God. We try to work things out for ourselves. We make poor choices. We commit sins of omission and commission. Sometimes Christians think that Jesus dying on the cross takes away all the consequences of sin. It does not. It removes the harshest punishment for sin, which is eternal death (Romans 6:23). When things get bad for us, we want a quick fix. Such was the case of the Israelites while in Babylon.

Jeremiah’s letter is God prophetically speaking to His people, the Israelites. God reminds them that His thoughts toward them are good, not evil. He has a plan for their well-being. He has a plan for redemption and restoration. The same is true for today’s believers. Even though we may stray, God desires that we stop our reliance on destructive, worldly securities and place our complete trust in Jesus Christ. No matter how badly we miss the mark, God’s plan for us is good and peaceful. He does not want us to be hopeless.

We have become more focused on the product than the process. We pray for God to heal us while we maintain an unhealthy lifestyle of a lack of exercise and too much stress. We would rather God give us a million dollars than learn principles of stewardship. Every hardship we face is fleeting and has an end date.

God has a plan, but we must go through the process to learn the lesson so that we can have the future God desires for us. We must trust God and know that He will hear our prayers and answer them in due time.

Reflection: If you are going through a difficult time right now or know of someone who is going through a challenging time, pray about your situation and theirs. Instead of asking God for a quick fix, ask Him to reveal His plan to you.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the good plan You have for my life. Help me to trust You even in the midst of challenging situations. May I never forget that what I go through in life is not a reflection of Your love for me. You are the same today, yesterday, and forevermore, and so is Your love for me. Thank You for giving me hope and a future. Thank You for listening to me when I call Your name. I pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Upcoming Connect 21 Events

  1. Wednesday Prayer Masterclass with Elder Christie Dobbins (Jan 17th @ 7pm via YouTube)
  2. Saturday Morning Prayer (Jan 20th @ The Way Woodstock)
  3. Sunday Morning Service (Jan 21st @ 10 am at River Ridge High School)