“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.’They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

 

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord.
‘They are plans for good and not for disaster,
to give you a future and a hope.'”
(Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

 

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

 

Looking out my window, I see that our rhododendrons are ready to burst into bloom, even as falling leaves cover the ground. An Eastern Phoebe (small flycatcher bird) showed up in our yard a few days ago, first on our clothesline and later on one of our patio chairs. Blue, orange, and yellow butterflies are constantly flitting through our yard, sometimes stopping on my window sill for a quick rest. It takes waiting and attention, but there’s a lot of joy that can be found in the unexpected!

So, how are you feeling this week?

I’ll be the first to admit that my days with a chronic illness that constantly pursues me can be very difficult – and chronic illness is only part of the difficulty we may be facing. You may have anxiety about COVID, the world’s unrest, or mounting financial burdens. You may be mourning a loved one’s passing, a wayward child, or a broken relationship.

For a lot of us, chronic illness piles on top of an already weary body, mind, and soul – but here’s the good news: if you feel off-kilter today and can’t seem to find a way out, that’s okay. Leave the plan to God, then wait for the unexpected.

 

GOD INVITES US CLOSER

 

Our God is not indifferent to His people’s struggles. He does not turn away because we feel all tumbled and broken. Instead, He invites us closer. He asks us to trust Him, to allow Him to walk with us so we don’t have to navigate our struggles alone.

I think of Mary and Martha, friends of Jesus, who sent word to Him that their brother, Lazarus, was sick. Jesus didn’t hurry to be with them and Lazarus died. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, he was met on the road first by Martha and then by Mary, who fell at His feet weeping. Jesus wept, too — and then He called Lazarus out of the tomb!

Jesus, who raised Lazarus from the dead, is the One we trust. His unexpected ways are greater and more powerful than we can ever imagine!

Just as I can’t call birds into my yard or make my plants bloom or heal myself of this disease, I cannot conquer my jumbled-up world. I feel frustrated, discouraged, and powerless against this perpetual tide of difficulties, but Jesus offers to bring order to our chaos. He asks us to trust him with our anxiety, our sadness, our weariness — to open our clenched hands and to take His.

 

He always has a plan.

 

Always.

 

Expect the unexpected.

 

Prayer:

Loving Father, remind me that You have plans for me, plans for good and not for harm, to give me a future and a hope. Let me rest in the assurance that You are always with me. Amen.

QUESTIONS:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

(Is. 55:8-9 NLT)

  • Where have you seen God working in your life in ways you could never have imagined?
  • What are the hopes and dreams you have that you’d like to entrust to God? Offer them to Him.
Natalie Hall

Natalie Hall

Originally from the Deep South, Natalie Hall and her husband along with their three children, served twelve years in the Far North of Alaska with SEND North. They now continue their work with SEND from the much warmer state of Texas. True to her southern roots she loves sweet tea, front porch rocking chairs, and a strong cup of morning coffee. Natalie frequently writes about her many Alaskan experiences and has a passion for sharing with others how they can step out in faith to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives – whether near or far. Connect with Nataile at nataliedhall.com.

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