This is an open letter to a friend who is in a transition time in her life. She's feeling a little down and lonely and "unused" by God. As I began to write to her I thought that maybe there are others of you out there who are also going through a sabbatical time and could use these thoughts on the subject.
I heard what you were saying last night at our study, how you are feeling kind of left-out because you are not preparing for youth ministry this year, and I wanted to encourage you if I could.
So I was praying and trying to find just the perfect edifying words from The Word that would encourage you in this season of your life, but I just kept coming back to the old familiar words of Jeremiah 29:11.
I know you know them too. "'For I know the plans that I have for you (dear friend),' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'"
Fresh thoughts (I hope).
I looked up the key words and this is what I found.
welfare is the Hebrew word shalom. Yes that word. Meaning peace. I had never connected this verse to receiving His peace before. I like that.
calamity literally means "friend, friend of the king". Strange thought. This did not seem quite right, but then I see it is often translated "adversary." Better.
Adversary. Someone who tries to undermine my faith, to pull me down, to work against me. How thankful I am that God's plans for me are not to tear at me, burdening me to go where I do not want to go.
future literally means "after part; end." So God's plan will take me right up to the end. To that moment when I breath my last gasp and wake in His arms.
Can you see what I see here? That we are to view God's plans for us as bringing us peace, the absence of fret and worry, that they are not adversarial making us pull back, but they will see us through to the end (He'll never leave us!)
hope means "expectation".
We should be at peace with all seasons knowing that God has a plan for us that is peace-filled, not heavy-laden, expecting the best from Him right up until the end.
And in this spirit, His Spirit, I am praying for you.
I totally understand the transitional times, how they can seem lonely and empty.
I urge you to spend more time drawing closer to our Lord in prayer and in meditation on His Word. For I have found these down times to be times when He is trying to break through my striving, my serving, my doing to get closer to me.
Sometimes He needs to wipe my slate clean so He can begin writing the "rest of the story," as Paul Harvey always said. The rest of His-story through me. Through you.
Be of good courage, dear sister. He is not through with you yet. This is merely a pause in the action.
For HE knows the plans He has for you. Plans that you can stake your life on, that you can hope in. He is still moving you toward the end of those plans. And He is still walking with you, even now.
On bended knee, Peggy