“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.” Jeremiah 29:11
Prophetic anything includes where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed. This time of year we measure our progress and plan what it will take to complete goals set in January. Assessing how far we’ve come provides a trajectory—like a rocket aiming for a determined flight path or orbit; merge that trajectory with the new beginnings theme of the Jewish New Year and Feast of Tabernacles and we naturally look expectantly ahead to both the fruits of our labor and a spiritual reward for faithfulness to vision and assignment. We just looked at the Lord’s Sabbath, a divine platform for rest that makes order and grace possible in our lives; so now, with a Sabbath rest established, present testing becomes training for the long haul, replacing everything ho-hum and wake-me-when-something-important-happens to increase the voice of the Lord thru us in the place where we are, right now.
I just heard Darrell Scott, father of Columbine victim Rachael Scott, share the message God has given him for high school students around the world in places where he is invited to speak. His message is not meant to be religious but is, in fact, anointed by God to awaken basic goodness in young people. He said life experiences, even deeply painful ones like the death of his daughter, pull strength from our inner core, positioning us for the future. Darrell Scott believes “painful experiences open a place in our heart that could not be opened otherwise” and for him, his loss has caused him to become a see-thru-er and not a look-at-er. Instead of looking “at” the situation he chooses to look beyond the moment and says his family now is experiencing God’s ultimate purpose of reaching Rachael’s generation, beyond what Rachael began, to complete her vision of taking God’s love to students everywhere. It was young Rachael’s vision precisely.
A few days after that interview, I read Joel Rosenberg’s blog report* on the UN speech by Iranian President Ahmadinejad. The speech boldly predicted the imminent arrival of a messiah; not Jesus Christ, he referred to a different messiah. It was not the leader’s first time claim of a soon to occur apocalyptic event, and by comparison I pondered a Judeo-Christian version of the future, presented in the same venue and the likelihood of it being tolerated. The UN speech and Darrell Scott interview, back to back, pointed symbolically to the culture collision we face—the American father of a young, Christian martyr taking God’s unconditional love to a generation, and the audacious announcement of world take-over by means of convert or die. It is the face of our today but according to Darrell Scott, these tough experiences prepare and position us to be light. After all, God did speak light ‘out of’ darkness and we are the light He was speaking! With revelation of the light we are we will not be on the sidelines. The pace is fast. Emotions collide. To step up, we’ve got to know the mission and message because like Rachael, we have one!
In Jeremiah 29:11 one meaning of peace, shalom, is complete or completeness. I cannot greet you with shalom without declaring completion of everything concerning you—everything! The LORD thinks this way. In the story of David’s flight from King Saul, Abigail, wife of Nabal, went out to meet David, making herself vulnerable in order to warn him, prophesying divine protection for the future king: “Yet a man has arisen to pursue you and seek your life, but the life of my lord (David) shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God, and the lives of your enemies He shall sling out as from the pocket of a sling.” Despite deadly elements—normal challenges in David’s day when Saul pursued to kill him and wealthy Nabal withheld food necessary for David survival—the Lord’s plan prevailed. 1Samuel 29:28-33
You and I have David’s favored position: Daily portions from the Lord, covenant favor and divine planning to complete the vision on time—a win-win! When the path strains, don’t look at; instead, see thru! See the slow down as training time for your future plus equipping with wisdom to help others. Mentally rehearse where you have been and where you are then press to keep going, adjusting your trajectory as often as necessary. In Jeremiah, thoughts the Lord thinks toward you are peace and not of evil. . . The Lord thinks this way. His plan is completion (shalom) and not evil; not bad, malignant, injury, wrong or unethical. He thinks this way; He sees the completion and GIVES it to you, to give you a future and a hope.
That’s the plan!
*Link to UN speech: Read