For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I often wonder if many of the people who buy lovely posters and trinkets with this scripture verse printed on them are aware of the context. Jeremiah gives this message to a people who are in the midst of the worst possible calamity they could imagine. He writes quite clearly that they face a 70 year exile. He tells them to plant gardens, build houses and seek the welfare of the people who destroyed the Judean way of life.
God’s timetable can be so different from ours. We can be assured God is at work even we can’t see what he is up to.
One of the people who read Jeremiah’s letter was Daniel. Think of it, Daniel was in service to a man who destroyed or confiscated his family’s property, removed their rights and freedoms, probably killed many friends and relatives and to top it off turned him into a eunuch, which has got to qualify as traumatic sexual abuse.
And yet, and yet…
Daniel is a faithful and trusted civil servant. When he interprets the king’s dream, which he knows is bad news, he says that he wishes the dream was about the king’s enemies and not the king himself. In spite of severe persecution he is faithful to his God, and God allows him to see beyond his circumstances. God lets him in on his plans, even though Daniel doesn’t have a grid for what he sees.
I stopped for lunch near the Alberta border a couple of days ago and I read my Bible as I sipped a thermos of coffee. The passage for the day was about Jesus taking his closest friends up a mountain where they were allowed to see him transfigured into a brilliant figure talking with Moses and Elijah (the law-giver and the prophet). The guys were overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do with such an experience.
Then came the hard part, the part their Master told them about several times, the part where he was arrested, sentenced, and executed. In those dark days before his resurrection, they must have wondered what that mountaintop experience was all about. What power must have been at work beyond their valley experience! The fulfillment of God’s plans were already in motion as the promise of the ages was arising in that dark place.
As I meditated on this passage I glanced over to my left, towards Crowsnest Mountain. This is what I saw. It was a pay-attention moment.
(Click on photo for larger version)