Settling Down in God’s Time and Season

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

Wow! It has been over a month since I have been able to sit down to compose a post and this hiatus is because I have been going though a season in my life. This season has been one that has brought with it many life lessons, particularly, learning to trust in God when things are not going the way I plan. Yesterday, I picked up my bible to read after a few weeks of not doing so and my readings led me to this nugget of inspiration from Jeremiah 29.

For context: The Israelites were in captivity and they were hoping for God’s deliverance. In fact, many false prophets had assured them that God’s deliverance was around the corner and that their exile would last for only a maximum of two years. Because of this false hope, the Israelites lived in this state of flux, of uncertainty; and in many ways, they were stuck and could not move forward. But God sent his prophet with this message:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Jeremiah 29: 5-7 NIV

God was telling them to get comfortable in the season He was taking them through. This sounds antithetical to everything I have come to believe when going through things in my life that I deem unpleasant. In fact, many Christian teachings and admonishing would urge me to pray and fast myself out of that situation. However, as I read through this scripture, I felt God’s encouragement to get comfortable in the seasons of my life. More often than not, I am in a hurry to move on to the next phase, to the next chapter of my life that I do not stop to take in the lessons and the blessings of each season of my life. Just like the Israelites, I sometimes refuse to accept the “realities” of what my situations are and rather look to future state as God’s promise for me. While this is not bad, there are many things that I miss out on in God’s season of my life: I miss out on planting and harvesting and on building during those seasons because I am waiting for better things to come. God told the Israelites to get comfortable, settle down, and build and in essence take advantage of everything the season of exile had to offer while they waited for His appointed time of deliverance. His promise to them was that at the end of the season, their deliverance would come but it was important that they did not waste the lessons and blessings of the season while waiting.

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For 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…”

Jeremiah 29: 10-11 NIV

You see many of us quote the latter part of that scripture about God’s plans to give us a future and a hope with abandon but if you read this scripture in context, you will see it was part of an assurance to the Israelites during their season of exile. God was encouraging them to use the season of exile wisely because the plans that He had for them was to prosper them in the season of captivity and exile and bring them to the future state of deliverance they imagined better off than they currently were.

What season of life are you currently in? What are you waiting on God to do for you? Are you in between jobs? Waiting for your healing? Expecting a breakthrough in a particular area of your life? Grieving a loss? Disappointed at the outcomes of your life’s circumstances? Or are you celebrating great wins and successes in your life? Whatever, your season, there is a lesson and a blessing. And while I pray that the difficult seasons do not last long and that light breaks forth like the dawn over every gloomy circumstance, my greatest prayer is that you do not miss the opportunities God has in store for you during whatever season of your life. And particularly for those going through untoward circumstances, I pray that you do not miss out on what God is doing because you are only looking for respite and if it is God’s plan to prosper you in that particular season, may He give you the grace to get comfortable in that season. His plan for your life does not bring you harm and disaster but are for your well- being to bring you to the future you hope for.

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for…[for it is the LORD who changes the times and seasons]

Jeremiah 29: 11GNB/ Daniel 2:21 NIV

Yours Truly

In conformity to His plan

We left off our last series on Your future is within you with these two questions: how can we ensure that we come to the expected end and future God has laid out for us? What if we mess up along the way or deviate from the plan, then what? Well… lets explore these questions.

John 15: 1-8 answers the first question beautifully.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…” John 15:5 NIV

If we remain in Christ who is the true vine, then we will bear fruits. The future that is embedded within us will flourish and come to fruition. Remember in the last post we discussed how God knows the plans He has for is and he knows what the way to that expected end us but he does not necessarily tell us? Well… Jesus assures us that He is the way (John 14:6) and if we will but follow Him and not turn to the left or the right He will lead us right into the future God envisioned for us.

But what about people like me who have not stayed the course and have gone our own way only to realize that that was just a dead end? Truth is there is hope if the person repents and turns away from the wrong path. This is the key; God works everything out in conformity to his will.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. Eph 1:11 NIV

So what does this mean? It means if you for example went your own way and ended up getting pregnant out of wedlock  or becoming a drug addict but turn around and come back, God conforms that story to the plan. An example of this is David. He not only stole Uriah’s wife and slept with her, but tried to hide the ensuing pregnancy and when that failed, he killed Uriah. When God convicted him of this grievous sin, he was immediately filled with remorse  and he repented. But the story did not end there… God conformed this ugly story to the plan for David  by accepting the next child of David and Bathsheba. After the baby was born, they named him Solomon but God sent word to David to call him Jedidiah which means loved by God (2 Sam 12:25 NIV). In fact God did not stop there; he used Solomon to fulfill the future he had mapped out  for David to have an everlasting throne by establishing Solomon as the next king of Israel. And we all know that Solomon was unparalleled in wisdom, wealth, and greatness of all the kings Israel had ever had and perhaps will ever have and Jesus Christ the everlasting King came from that lineage of David.

You see, God conforms those messes when we go astray to become a part of our testimony so that when we get to our expected end, our journey becomes an encouragement to others. Never forget God’s assurance:

For 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. Jer 29:11 NIV

Yours Truly.

Your future is within you

Today I was privileged to listen to a sermon by Dr. Myles Munroe and he made this statement that really struck me – “your future is not a distant thing that is to come; it is within you”. He described this using an apple: within an apple are seeds and within each seed is an apple tree. The future of that apple is within itself. In a similar concept, the future of a chicken is within an egg. It just has to undergo a process.

Within each of us is the future that God has predestined for us. He declares that he knows the plans that he has for us and it is one that brings us to our predestined future (Jer 29:11 NIV).  God establishes in His word that what distinguishes Him from any other god is that he makes known (declares) the [expected] end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10 NIV).  Long before we are born, our future is decided by God. God chooses our destinies but the fulfilment of such destinies is entirely decided by us. As Dr. Munroe suggested it is like a parent paying for college for their child. That parent sees a degree ahead and yet if the child does not apply themselves to study while in college and ends up with the wrong crowd, they will flunk out completely and not attain that degree.

So this is how it works:

God declares your expected end which is your future or your destiny –> then he backtracks to the beginning and creates you –> and he lays out the plan for how you will get to your expected end according to His will.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. Eph 1:11 NIV

Many times God makes known to us our future. The caveat is that God seldomly tell us the plan but neither does he leave us to figure it out all on our own.  He orders and directs our steps along the lines of those plans so long as we let Him.

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:27 NLT

Case in point… Joseph. God showed Joseph in a dream that his family would one day bow down to him but God never showed him how he will get there. God never showed him the pit or prison. But God was with him ordering His steps along the way as long as Joseph was in step with God. The pit and prison were all part of God’s plan to prepare him for his future. Many times the things we go through in life are all a part of God’s plan to bring us to that future he predestined us for.

So how can we ensure that we come to the expected end and future God has laid out for us? What if we mess up along the way or deviate from the plan, then what? Well… we will explore these questions in Part II of this series. Stay tuned!

Yours Truly.

For I know the plans I have for you….

For 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. Jer 29: 11 NIV

This scripture has brought comfort to many Christians (myself included) during times of uncertainty. Many times I have prayed this scripture when things happen in my life and I cannot explain them or when I am earnestly asking God for a special blessing, I remind Him from this scripture that his plans are to prosper me and give me a future and a hope.

Over the past few weeks, however, I have had the privilege of thinking about this scripture a little more deeply when I heard it quoted at the memorial service of a Christian young man who died very unexpectedly. The question was posed: “Was this God’s plan?” As I pondered the question, a very unusual answer came to me in the form of another question: “What is the future and hope God promises?”

If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him. 1 Cor 15: 19-23 BSB

As Christians, our hope and future are not of this world. Our hope, our future, our glory, and crown are in the fact that when our life is over in this world, we will stand victorious before the King of kings, Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ in the next world. If you have made Jesus the  Lord and Saviour of your life then you have a hope and a future and that is God’s plan for you. It is God’s desire that everyone is saved and comes to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2: 4 BSB).

So what about the prosperity promised in the scripture? People have a tendency to think of prosperity only in terms of money, wealth, and possessions but Jesus describes possessions not only as earthly but also heavenly. This is why He encouraged that we store up treasures in Heaven as well. This is not to say that I have prayed amiss all these years or encouraged myself with this scripture in vain. But as God calls me to enjoy a deeper relationship with him, I have come to the realization that this scripture Jer 29: 11 is both relevant for my life here on earth and also has eternal implications. I believe that God’s plan for me here on earth is that I prosper, be in good health, be successful, be happy and be delivered from harm. This is all scriptural. But I have also come to know in these past weeks that my prosperity, my future, and my hope is eternal and it is anchored in Christ the Solid Rock on which I stand while on this earth.

Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek Hebrews 6: 18-20 BSB

As we slowly come to the end of the year, the end of a decade, the question I have for you and for myself is this: “Is your future anchored on the hope that is Jesus?” For 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.

Yours Truly.