Wait, what? God plans disaster? He does. And this might not be my most popular post. But we need to know that God plans the steps of everyone for His purpose, even when it includes an earthly version of disaster.
Last fall, I was participating in a nightly Praying the Scripture challenge and I wrote this quick commentary on which I’m elaborating today.
Christians are are facing a world that has increasingly abandoned scriptural teachings. Even churches are affirming sin and teaching unsound doctrine. The American political landscape is more divided than ever, and we can’t even trust our news to report objectively.
We are wringing our hands, wondering what to do, but in a completely unpopular position, I’m asking what if this is part of the plan?
What if disaster is part of God’s plan?
Really – this is going to be a bitter pill to swallow, but Jeremiah spent the ENTIRE book warning Israel God was going to destroy them if they didn’t repent and turn from sin.
False prophets kept telling the people not to worry, “God isn’t going to destroy us. He wouldn’t do that! He is a loving God.”
Doesn’t that sound familiar?
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And time and time again, God sent Jeremiah to tell the people, Yes, I love you enough to get your attention and correct you.
God’s ultimate purpose in all He does is that all would repent, not wishing any would perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Israel didn’t listen. Judah didn’t listen. America isn’t listening.
Culturally, we’re using our feelings to decide what is true instead of the immutable truths of God’s word.Are we lost? We're using feelings to decide what's true instead of God's word. Seek His face. Click To Tweet
I know personally, the growth in my spiritual walk, the depth of my faith, has come in the times of suffering, not the times of ease or plenty.
Originally, I wrote this post weeks before my hip implant failed, my hip surgery failed, my recovery stalled and I’ve been very much handicapped. But despite my pain and tears and frustrations, my marriage is better, my faith is stronger.
God plans disaster for a purpose.
He let me hurt physically to strengthen me spiritually, to get my attention, to redirect my focus going forward. Because God plans disaster with an eternal perspective. He can see how today’s choices will resonate through history.
Maybe God is calling us to grow in the disasters that we face.
Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Many quote this verse from Jeremiah, but few include the context.
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper . . . 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.
In verses 4-10, God promises He has a plan, but it includes 70 years of exile.God's plan might include disaster, but it also includes redemption if we repent and turn. Click To Tweet
Christians often cling to Jeremiah 29:11 as if it promises easy lives. But nothing could be farther from the truth, because God’s plan is measured in eternity, not just worldly blessings.
His plan is to redeem as many of us as will turn to Him for eternity.
Even as destruction rained down on His chosen people, God promised He was with them in exile, and that He had planned all this for their redemption, not that they wouldn’t suffer.
Once His people had been in captivity for 70 years AND were ready to repent and turn . . .
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
God planned the redemption even before the disaster struck, and sent messengers begging the people to listen so the whole mess could be avoided. They stubbornly didn’t want to listen or change.
Neither do we.
If we don’t listen, disaster may be necessary to get our attention. We may yet be headed for a large fall from our perspective. But nothing happens without purpose.
When we face disaster, we rush into the arms of our Father. Christians demonstrate faith and hope when we calmly walk through hard times.
Thinking in parenting terms – “Honey, don’t stand on that chair.” She ignores me, so I repeat myself.
“I said, Don’t stand on that chair! You are going to fall and get hurt!” I’m shouting now.
When she refuses to listen, I, sometimes, stand back and let her fall (when the hurt won’t be too much) so she will learn to listen and obey, so she will not need me to warn and shout next time, so she’ll learn wisdom.
I don’t want her to fall. I want her to stop standing on the chair. But I know she’ll learn when she falls.
And when God plans disaster, he doesn’t want us to hurt, but He would rather see us hurt for a season than be lost for eternity.
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