God Loves You and has a Wonderful Plan for your Life
Have you ever asked yourself what God is doing with your life? Why did the things happen to you that did? Guest blogger Lisa Pelissier is here with a reminder that God never promised an easy road.
It was a popular Christian saying during my college years. The Four Spiritual Laws. The presentation of the gospel was always supposed to start with the phrase “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The implication was, if a person would accept Jesus into their heart, then their life would be full of goodness and light.
For most of us, if not all, this has not been the case. Life has been full of pain. Gut-wrenching pain. For me, in the context of parenting my mentally ill children, life has been full of hardship. It’s been full of ruined lives, hearts turning from God in confusion, and darkness instead of light.
Does God promise believers happy lives?
Those repeating the cliché will cite verses like Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Or Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ ”
They ignore verses like I Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” Or the beginning of Romans 5 where the Bible indicates that suffering is the source of good character. Or II Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” Verses that point forward to continual suffering will not be good selling points for Christianity.
But they are as true as the others.
I’ve seen hardship and suffering ruin lives. My brother has not been able to have a family. He cannot work. He spends a lot of time just being still due to schizophrenia and the effects of the medications. My husband is in constant pain, mentally and physically. My son has similar issues. So does my daughter. Where is the “wonderful plan” for their lives?
Truth be told, the “wonderful plan” schtick is not Biblical. The Bible does not promise us happy lives. It does not promise us easy lives. It does promise trouble, sorrow, suffering, and grief.
In my grumpy, sinful heart, I wonder how so many people seem to escape pain and trouble. They are able to work. Their children are healthy, married, having families of their own. Why them and not me? Why is my family sick and not theirs? Where is God in my life? Why isn’t He blessing me and my family?
Here are the things I try to remember when I fall into such despair.
1) I am not the center of God’s plan
God may not have a pain-free plan for my life, but God does have a wonderful plan, and He will use me to accomplish it. He will use my pain and suffering to bless others, to bring hope to others, to bring word of His salvation to others.
2) God did not promise to prevent suffering. He did promise to walk through suffering with me.
Psalm 23:4 says “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” The valley of the shadow of death is inevitable. But so is the presence of God. Romans 8:38-39 says “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Trials and trouble, yes. But God is with me. Even the verse “Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) testifies to the presence of God in times of trouble. Jesus did not prevent Lazarus from dying, but he wept with the mourners. God is with me. God is with you.
3) This world is not my home.
God does promise us good things in His Word. These good things, however, are not primarily obtained in this lifetime. The world to come will be the fulfillment of His promises toward His people. Philippians 3:20 says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” In Revelation 21:4, John describes his vision of Heaven: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” It is this view I must cling to.
And there is purpose even in my pain. I am called to use it to bless others. II Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” I can bring whatever God gives me, and offer it up to someone else, a testimony to the faithfulness of God.
God is merciful. He gave us Himself and He gave us each other.
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Lisa Pelissier lives in Oregon where she is a homeschooling mother of four (three with disabilities) and author of four middle-grade fiction novels as well as a YA fantasy novel. Lisa owns SneakerBlossom Books, offering Christian, classical homeschool Study Guides and curriculum. She blogs at Eleventh Willow, offering encouragement for Christians parenting the mentally ill. She also works as a freelance copy editor, an artist, and a substitute teacher. In her spare time Lisa enjoys playing the piano and fretting about things over which she has no control.
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