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.
Isaiah 55:8-9 — For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
My morning started out with a special prayer service for a friend.
I’ll be real honest with you: Mornings are not easy for me. Anything with an 8 AM meeting time needs to have a “change the world” purpose behind it or I won’t even hear the alarm. And while this morning’s meeting didn’t have a change the world purpose, it did involve a “change the world” friend. And even though I forgot to set the alarm. I did make it to the meeting by 8:10.
My friend Jerry has pancreatic cancer. But it is very slow growing compared to the more aggressive and life threatening type. Essentially, he has a tumor on his pancreas that they cannot operate on because it is wrapped around a critical blood vessel that makes it dangerous to remove. It is rare and unique and the doctors are hoping to shrink it enough so that they can operate to remove it.
As we all gathered around to pray today, it reminded me of the impact that Jerry has had in all of our lives. Through his gentle and loving personality, he has found a way to make a difference in the community where we live. He is not forceful and demanding. He shares his heart with you and he talks with you. He doesn’t try to be anybody or anything else other than the person God created him to be.
As I stood listening to the prayers of his friends this morning, one verse stood out for me more than the others: Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord….
Instantly, Isaiah 55:8 came into my mind: My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.
As we prayed for healing for our friend, I was overwhelmed by the sense that none of us in the room really understand the thoughts and ways of an amazing God. While I don’t know what God’s ultimate will for my friend will be, I do know that God has a purpose in everything He does. I also don’t believe that God’s purpose just involves the end result. I believe that he also uses the journey, for all of us, to help shape us into the person He wants us to be.
My evening ended with a beginning-of-the-season cheer practice for an 11/12 year old cheer team that I have coached for the last several years.
As the girls returned with the beginning of the season excitement in their eyes, I know this too is part of their life journey…and part of mine.
I don’t know the ways of my amazing God, but I do know that He has a purpose to use my life for His will, just like he uses my friend Jerry. And I look forward to the journey that he gives me – good and bad — and lessons He will use to shape my life on that journey.
My prayer is to be open enough to His molding in my life that maybe He can use me to shape the life journeys of those around me for His ways, even though (at least in this life) I may never know exactly what those ways are.