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)
This verse comes in the middle of the words that God gave Jeremiah for the Jews who had been captured and led away to Babylon. He told them to marry, build houses and plant gardens, for they were going to be there for a long time — seventy years to be exact. They should “seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.”
Other prophets were telling them that God would soon break the Babylonian yoke and they could return to their own country. Jeremiah was delivering the cold, hard, unpopular facts — yes, that is coming, but you will have to wait the whole seventy years for it to happen. Meanwhile, get a life where you are.
The lesson of the book of Job is that God does not give an account of what He does. Job’s three friends thought they had the answer: Job had committed some horrible hidden sin and if he would only confess, God would restore him. They were wrong, Job was merely a pawn in Satan’s warfare against God. Job himself thought that God owed him an explanation for all that had happened. At the end, he grasped that God’s ways were far beyond his understanding. In accepting that truth, he found peace and restoration.
Bringing this down to a personal level, I often find myself wishing I knew what God’s plan is for me. Two days ago, I went to see my eye doctor for a routine checkup. It turned out to be not so routine.
To set the scene, it was seven and a half years ago that I was first diagnosed with the wet form of macular degeneration. There followed a little more than three years of periodic injections into one eye or the other in an attempt to stop the degeneration. And it did work, my vision is less than it used to be, but it has been stable for four years. On Tuesday, the doctor detected a slight swelling of the retina of my right eye, caused by bleeding from tiny capillaries. I signed the consent forms and was given an injection of Lucentis in that eye right then and there, with two more scheduled, a month apart.
The doctor thinks he caught it early enough that that will be all that is needed. I hope so. I wish I could know. But why? What good would it do me to know, either way?
God knows what the future holds for me. I don’t, and it’s probably better that I don’t. That would distract me from doing what He wants me to do today. Today is the only day that I have any control over; the future will come as it will. So today I will direct my thoughts and my actions toward the things that matter for today, and trust the future into God’s hands.