I ran across this today, and thought I would just share an excerpt. Such a blessing!
“One of the most incredible promises in the Bible comes from the 29th chapter of Jeremiah. “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.” What child of God wouldn’t want to be reminded again and again of such a sweeping promise of blessing? Yet as incredible as those words are, in our more realistic moments we sense a problem. Down deep lies a nagging question we hesitate to verbalize: What’s a promise like that worth when life starts falling apart? We don’t want to sound faithless, but the truth is, many of us have done everything we know to honor God only to turn around and watch our lives go terrible wrong….Some would say that Jeremiah’s words are a much smaller promise than we’ve been led to believe. They would say it’s a sentimental thought that melts in the withering heat of real life. But I have come to believe the opposite: Our difficulty in understanding the promise is not that we think of it as too large, but as too small. The problem is not with the verse that many of us memorized. The problem is in the verses we didn’t memorize, the ones that tell the story leading up to this promise….When Jeremiah penned these words, it was the worst of times. The balance of world power was shifting between nations. Jeremiah’s people were caught in the crossfire….”
The verse before verse 11 says: “For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.”
“When 70 years have passed, and things have gone from bad to worse, then the promise will come….I know my problems pale in comparison to those of Jeremiah’s people, but I can still feel crushed by trouble. When I do, my tendency is to wonder where the wonderful promises of God have gone. In the shadows of sorrow, I have questions. “How long will it last? What does it all mean? How could God possibly have a plan in this when it looks like total chaos to me?…God promises that even when everything may appear to be collapsing around me, He still has an exquisite design of beauty for my life. He isn’t simply scraping together some desperate scheme to bail me out of the mess I’m in; He is actually using the mess to create an eternal work of art. He is not merely going to enable me to endure the pain; He promises somehow to use these broken shards of my life to fashion a masterpiece. In our darkest hours, however, we may still wonder: Then why doesn’t it make any sense to me, God?…God’s promise is not invalidated by trials; it takes on its greatest significance in the midst of our trials. A promise that only makes sense when life is good is far too small a thing. The God of the heavens is not a god of sentimental wishes and simplistic answers. He is so unsearchably magnificent that He can take even our lingering tragedy and fashion it into an exquisite design – whether we understand it or not.”
Those last words of that quote are beautifully written to me. But the truth of it is even more beautiful. He has an exquisite design. Exquisite is defined as: extremely beautiful and, typically, delicate. When you think of something delicate, you think of something that has to be handled with great care. Just how he holds us. He has to be wonderfully patient to keep on molding me, especially when I fight against Him. He has to be incredibly loving to keep picking up the pieces and putting them back together. And He has to have a master plan to design something that is exquisitely delicate and beautiful. He has to be unsearchably magnificent to use something that makes absolutely no sense to shape my life and make me more like Him. So I’ll trust the Potter’s hands, He knows what’s best for me. He has a perfect plan these human eyes can’t see. He’s the Potter, I’m the clay. He knows just how much I can take. When I face the fire again, I’ll trust the Potter’s hands.