What about when God plans disaster?

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).

Wait, what? God plans disaster? Yes, He does. And this might not be a popular post. But we know that God plans the steps of everyone for His eternal purposes.

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.

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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. 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 . . .

Jeremiah 29:12-14(ESV)

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.

But God is sending people to warn us, like Shane Idleman and Francis Chan.

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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Master Weaver – trusting God’s plan in the chaos

Life is the beautiful rug hiding in the mess of our trials and struggles. Trusting the Master Weaver for the beautiful life He is weaving in me.

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I’ve had lots of messy, hurtful times in my life: my husband’s combat tours, gossiping neighbors, financial struggles, marital tensions, infertility, health crises, times that felt like they were breaking me apart.

During those moments that felt like my world was breaking in two, I’ve held tightly to this promise.

Romans 8:28 ESV  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Because sometimes in the middle of it, I couldn’t see how. I’ve sat in the mess holding my heart in my hands wondering how God could possibly being doing any good.

God promises He uses all things for our good, but sometimes, we can't see how. We have to trust our Master Weaver. Click To Tweet

And then I would start to see the hints of God’s hand using those messes, and I pictured the weaving of Persian carpets, some of the most intricate, most beautiful in the world, woven together with absolute precision.

But in the middle of weaving, it is a bit of a mess. Strings hanging in random directions, lots of white threads, etc. Only the master weaver knows what the finished product will become, while we only see how perfectly the pieces fit together once each part is completed.

Life is the beautiful rug hiding in the mess of our trials and struggles. Trusting the Master Weaver for the beautiful life He is weaving in me.

I can’t always easy to see how the messy parts fit, but they always do.

April 2013, I had an arthroscopic hip surgery that was supposed to “fix” my hip. Instead, my hip was completely destroyed. After a total hip replacement in January 2014, I was recovering nicely, then dislocated my new hip. I had to spend 6 1/2 weeks in an immobilizing brace. Unable to sit up, lay down, drive, shower, dress, live in any easy way in that thing, I was STUCK at home. Frustrated, I couldn’t see how all the injuries, surgeries and setbacks could be part of God’s plan.

I wasn’t able to do anything!

Exactly what God wanted. He wanted me to stop running, figuratively and literally. SIT DOWN. Be still. Wait on ME.

So I spent months just being home, spending time with my daughter, focusing on my relationship with my husband and with God. It became an amazing time of dedicating my life to God and His highest ministry for me, raising my daughter and serving my husband through what I could be, not do.

My perspective on my purpose and my value shifted tremendously.

I can't always see God's plan in the chaos, but I can trust Him through it. Click To Tweet

During the difficult years waiting to be a mother, I cried, I ached, I got bitter before I turned it over to God. But if you gave me a chance to change it, I wouldn’t. God used every minute of the waiting.

He used that time to introduce me to my husband, to move me around the country, meet new people, to become the woman who was ready finally to be a Godly mother, raising my child for Him, not myself.

God gave me the absolute right child for me at the perfect time. He was teaching me to be patient, have wisdom and strength, and definitely, to be selfless in an entirely new way. I couldn’t understand why He wanted me to wait, but He was preparing me to be this tiny tornado’s mother. This child is a force of nature, and I had to wait for her to exist. I couldn’t have known that then and wouldn’t have missed mothering her for the world!

My struggles with infertility and our journey through adoption has allowed me to witness, minister, and support many women in similar situations. What a gift to be able to be a friend and sister in Christ in this way!

I think of all the young mothers I would never have met if I’d been a mother earlier, young women I can walk beside and support now, facing the same challenges, but as a mentor in Christ.

God has used our seemingly random moves in the military, but each was part of God’s plan in many ways.

In Texas, I met some women who truly changed my life, becoming sisters in Christ.  I cannot understate how important they have been to my life. They befriended me, supported me, helped bring me to a deeper walk with God, helped love me out of my shell, changed my life.

Also, our daughter was born there. Her birth mother chose us because she could meet us in person. God didn’t waste even the tiniest ripples of His hand.

Despite our struggles, the tiny ripples of God's hands in my life were never wasted. Click To Tweet

Then, again the army sent us away from all we knew. But it was here that I got to stay home and raise my daughter, play Candy Land instead of grade essays. Here, we found a new friends and an amazing church. Being here has absolutely grown me spiritually.

Right now, my husband and I are dealing with an assignment that is 16-18 hour days, 6-7 days every week. It is daunting for him, for me, for our daddy’s girl who misses him so, but God has been ahead of us, guiding our paths all along.

I can’t see why this might be the right place for our family, but I can trust God that it is. Surviving the storm together binds our hearts together in a way ease never did.

Surviving the storms of life strengthens us in ways that ease never did. Click To Tweet

I can rest knowing that God has a plan for my life.

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 put it into context.

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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.  .   .   . 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. 

God promises He has a plan, but it includes 70 years of exile.

Christians often cling to Jeremiah 29:11. We like to think it promises easy lives. However, God really promised that He was with them in exile. He had not forgotten them and had planned this for their redemption. He didn’t promise they wouldn’t suffer.

Can you look back at your life and see times the Master Weaver always had a plan? All the pieces in your life that seemed out-of-place but turned out to be part of the design all along. Maybe you’re in that period of difficulty right now and can’t see how all the pieces fit.

God doesn’t waste anything. Every struggle and joy are a part of His plan for your life, unique pieces of you He can use.

Remember, God sees the finished product, and He is making a beautiful and wondrous work of your life.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

So Master Weaver, sweet Abba Father, my hope is in Your complete plan for my life.

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