For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Jeremiah 29:11 AMP
I think of this verse often, and it was especially poignant while listening to the latest Message of the Month from Martha, “Yes or No, We Can’t Have Both.” When God asks me to do something, I can react with either suspicion or trust. I can choose ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ The Holy Spirit has used this verse in Jeremiah as a veritable shield against my jaundiced eye, and I’m so grateful.
Will I Choose Suspicion?
It should go without saying that the Lord does not have evil thoughts or plans for us, but since He said it, we need to hear it. There is an ongoing battle for our wills, and we live or die on how we choose. One day I complained to God about a seeming onslaught of issues that were coming up in me. I remember saying, “Can’t I just have one day where there isn’t a mess of some kind?!” And of course that was me being a total brat, because I am laid down in green pastures regularly. God is kinder to me than I have EVER been to myself. But sometimes it feels like a never-ending barrage, and it’s the easiest thing in the world to listen to that hateful voice telling you that if God really loved you, then He wouldn’t deal with you like this.
The more time passes and the better I’ve come to know the Father-heart of God, the less effective the accusations are, but they’re still there. Exercising our will is the only actual power we have, and our lives turn on it. So of course Satan sows seeds of suspicion! He knows what’s at stake better than I do. He also knows that I can speak the words, “Yes, Lord, I bow,” until I’m blue in the face without actually bowing. But God always knows if I’ve truly bowed my will. God knows if I’ve done the work to BELIEVE that He is good and so are His plans for me. God knows what I choose, and ultimately my life will reflect how I’ve chosen. As Johnny Cash so beautifully paraphrased, “What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light.”
Will I Choose LIFE?
“Yes or No, We Can’t Have Both” is a reminder of how quickly our choices can change our lives, and it’s sobering and wonderful at the same time. If the enemy can’t move us into Camp Suspicion, then he’ll go for the next best thing and tell us that our choice won’t make a difference. I get hit with that line often. “You can choose and choose and nothing will change because you’re stuck here.” Jeremiah 29:11 counters that move completely. God doesn’t leave me stuck because His plans for me are good. And if God’s plans for me are good, then saying ‘Yes’ to Him is choosing the best and highest life possible for myself.
Jeremiah 29:11 is the verse that the Holy Spirit ignited for me to counter the attacks of Satan. He knows each of us that personally and specifically and completely. Our Good Shepherd doesn’t leave us alone to fight the wolves. He speaks to us, lets us hear HIS voice and it’s full of Love. We’re not alone. The choice is ours, and the work to believe is ours, but we are given every possible equipping to choose LIFE. Because the plans God has for us are good and intended to give us hope in the future.