The following post is adapted from Ps Phil Pringle's message on Mother's Day, Sun 13 May, at the C3 Oxford Falls 10am service. Watch the message here.
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)
We sometimes question whether God does in fact know what He’s doing. When we do we must choose to believe His Word (“I know what I’m doing…”) and not our circumstances.
Then we’re told in the verse above that He knows the plans He has for us. Often we’ll be in a place where we ask Him to show us what they are. But He leads us one step at a time. The journey is the making of us.
Sometimes we doubt whether He will help us because of something that may have occurred in the past. God will read that in our subconscious. But He does have “plans to take care of us.” That is why He came as Jesus to live like us: to help us. He doesn’t have any plans to hurt us or abandon us.
We need to surrender to Jesus and trust His plans rather than our own.
This leads us to another very popular verse: Romans 8:28 (NKVJ) – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Everything we’re going through will work out for good because God works it out for good. It’s important to keep preaching this verse to ourselves because we have an adversary who is telling us the exact opposite.
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
God can’t see the bad in us: He justifies us and forgives us. He has a ridiculously extravagant love for each one of us. Further, He tells us who we are before He tells us what to do.
We can’t do until we know who we are. Live out of the favour of God as that is the grace of God. He is an inclusive God who includes everybody into His family.
Mothers Found in the Bible
Let me take a few moments to work through five individual statements by using a mother found in the Bible as an illustration.
“Fear not, for I am with you.”
Hagar was Sarah’s maidservant. Her role description was expanded when Abraham and Sarah asked her to be their surrogate mother because Sarah was barren. On becoming pregnant Hagar starts gloating over her boss so Sarah kicks her out. God meets her in the desert and asks her: “where are you going and where are you coming from?” which is actually a good question for all of us.
Being a Christian doesn’t inoculate us from difficult circumstances, rather our faith helps us get through them. “Fear not, Hagar, going back will help you.”
Years after having given birth to Ishmael, Abraham and Sarah kick both of them out. In the desert, Hagar in her depression cries out to God. God answers her and in so doing effectively removes the scales from her eyes so she is able to see the well that is not far from her, which she couldn’t see previously because her depression blinded her.
God did not abandon her and as a result many nations were born.
“Be not dismayed, for I am your God.”
Naomi is dismayed when living in a foreign land her husband and two sons suddenly die. What does she do? She returns to her homeland with Ruth, one of her daughters-in-law. She goes back to her church and reactivates her faith. Ruth eventually re-marries to Boaz and they give birth to Obed, who eventually fathers Jesse, the father of David.
“I will strengthen you”
The woman who had the “issue of blood” for 12 years touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak and was healed. In doing so she was immediately strengthened.
“I will help you”
We’re all familiar with Mary’s miraculous conception. Gabriel, the angel, comforted Mary by stressing how the Holy Spirit would help her through her pregnancy.
“I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”
In Luke 13 we read of the woman who was bent over and couldn’t raise herself up. But when Jesus met her in the temple He called her over and said, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.” One encounter with Christ was all she needed. She no longer felt inferior and she was healed of her infirmity that had crippled her for 18 years.
God does know what He’s doing and He does have plans for each of us.
Today, let’s recommit to surrendering ourselves to Him and allowing Him to lead us onto the next step of our journey. All it takes is the one encounter with Jesus.