“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’”
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NASB
All my heart
In this world it is easy to have a divided heart. Many things compete for our allegiance and for our time. Our passion is dominated by the things that bring us pleasure, or please our souls. Ours is a world full of distractions. The irony of this present time is that, for many of us, life is at full stop and suddenly we have lives made simpler, whether we want it or not.
It is a time of reflection.
God has given me so many of these seasons where my life has ground to a full stop. Illnesses have caused me to slow down. In those times of slowing, I have had the opportunity assess my divided heart. Over time, various compartments have shrank or have been eliminated as my life has changed. What was once a priority has been jettisoned, as abilities degraded or appetites diminished.
My God compartment has grown exponentially, as I have devoted my time and my energy to the pursuit of Jesus. The more I seek Him, the more I have the desire for Him. Through the pursuit, so many things in my life have fallen away as my health has declined. My desire for distraction has become a desire for the things of God, fueled by a growing dependence on His mercy. He is increasingly all I have. He is more than by enough.
It is easy for me to fall into the trap of feeling hopeless on any given day. I am sustained by the reality stated in today’s passage. Israel was in a period of correction at the time of the writing. But, even in the midst of it, God expressed His love for them and that there was light.
By way of application, I read the passage and I have peace in the midst of the struggle. In my darkest days, where the pain is grievous and the pangs of loneliness deep, I know that God is in the depths with me. He has a future and a hope for me. The hope may be provision for another day, or it could be the greatest hope of all, eternity with Jesus. Either way, I am able to walk, head held high in the confidence of my God.
He is gaining ground in the battle for my whole heart. When I look back, I am amazed at all the things I considered essential, that have become refuse, jettisoned to the scrap heap of my past. The crises of life have helped me to define what is truly important and needful. All things fade in the bright glory of God.
Now is the time to assess the allocation of space in our hearts. What space are we giving useless things that do not edify. Are the things we internalize bringing peace? God has given use a wonderful filter in the Holy Spirit. He is our gate keeper, and if we are sensitive to Him, He can help us control what we let in.
Many of us are in fear right now. Our lives are filled with uncertainty. For me that is my everyday normal. Focusing on God can turn the fear into faith, turmoil into peace. I can attest to this as I know that He is faithful.
Cry out to God for help in these dark times, you in the faith. He will listen to you! Be comforted by His faithfulness and confident that He will sustain and restore.
He will turn your anxiety into peace!
“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.”
Psalms 94:19 NASB
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