“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The last place the children of Israel wanted to be was far from home in the hated land of their captors. Sorrow was the order of the day. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.” (Psa. 137:1,2)
The prophets had told them it would not happen; but it did. No words of men would cancel the will of God. And in this place there was wonderment: “Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies?” (Psa. 77:7-9)
While false prophets decreed a future which would not come to pass, true prophets helped the people see past the present affliction to a day when joy would return. “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. 35:10)
The weeping willows would be left behind, songs of joy would once again ring out from amazed and grateful hearts. “When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” (Psa. 126:1-3)
In God’s plan we gain more than our goal, we gain a better and deeper relationship with Him.
Our ways and thoughts are so often different than God’s. We have a goal in mind and determine to reach it by our own planning. We have horse blinders on, and think we can will our “best life now” into existence. But God has a better plan for us. In His plan we gain more than our goal, we gain a better and deeper relationship with Him.
Are we the Lord’s? Do we love Him? Are we “the called according to his purpose?” Then we are to know that He is working all things together for good in our life. The road to the blessed life may not be as straight as we’d like it to be, but if we trust God, and lean not to our own understanding, He will direct our path, even through great sorrow, toward a destination of joy. He knows the plans He has for us and is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Eph. 3:20) In the end, there will be no questioning of God’s love for us.