Last Saturday night our friend Katie (aka Reverend Kay-Kay) preached a really good sermon about (among other things) the frailty and uncertainties of life. Her central text was Jeremiah 29:11-14, which starts with a verse we all (well, at least everyone who grew up in my house) have heard many times before:
"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." (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
Great verse, inspiring stuff. Always good to feel like God is in not just in our corner, but in control...that his ways and plans supersede ours at times in our lives when our plans get crumpled and faded. But what really caught my (Aaron's) attention were the verses that came afterwards:
"Then you will CALL on me and COME and PRAY to me, and I WILL listen to you. You will SEEK me and FIND me when you seek me with ALL your heart. I WILL be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will BRING you BACK from captivity. I will GATHER you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:12-14, NIV)
Three things really inspired/convicted/reassured me about this passage: 1.) God's direction in our lives so often depends on the simple acts of seeking his face through prayer and supplication. 2.) He does hear our prayers, and he always listens to and answers them (even if it's in his time, not ours). 3.) Not only can God be found by us, but he promises to redeem us despite the challenging circumstances in our lives. He longs to gather us back to himself.
Good news in all seasons...especially in the midst of a particularly busy Advent season. God can be found, he can be trusted, and he is mighty to save!