"For I know the plans for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future..." I don't remember the first time I read or heard these words nor do I remember where I was the first time they truly resonnated within my heart. But Jeremiah 29:11 has become one of the most encouraging verses in the Bible to me. I understand that these words are specifically for the Jews in exile but I believe through other verses that the God who created me also has a specific plan for me; verses such as Psalm 139:15-16: ...When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. He has a plan for me, a personal, individual plan for me.
When Paul wrote the the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11 about the use of spiritual gifts, he said, But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. But one and the same Spirit works in all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills (empahsis added). The Holy Spirit of God gives me spiritual gifts in accordance to the plan He already has for my life.
He planned it for me. He prepared it for me. He equipped me for it. My part is to follow the perfect, specific plan He already has put together for my life. I can follow Him and receive great peace and joy in knowing that what I am doing is what I was created for or I can go my way and do my thing for my immediate pleasure and receive short-term satisfaction that leaves no lasting impact or peace.
Recently, I heard the idea that in 150 years from now, there will be no one living who knows me or knows my children or my grandchildren for that matter. In fact, chances are very good that no one will ever know I ever existed. What will remain after I am gone is the impact I make on people's eternity. That impact is best made by living my life out through the plan that God has designed for me. God has given me an incredible wife, five wonderful grown children (three by birth and two by marriage), and two beautiful granddaughters. God expects me to be the best husband, father and grandfather possible. But for all eternity, exactly what impact I will make will be determined by how obedient I am in the use of the gifts He has given me for the specific purpose of carrying out the plan He has for me.
I pray for myself, that I never fail Him. I pray for you that if you don't know the plan He has for you that you discover it and carry it out as well. But even more than that, I pray that if you don't know Him you will because whether you realize it or not He already has a plan for you; He's just waiting for you so He can share it with you.