Have you ever planned and carried out that plan just to feel differently about it afterward? Goodness, everything was riding on that one big moment, yet it fell flat. What happened? Did we misunderstand? It seemed perfect, but where do we go from here?


Thinker - Rodin - images.fineartamerica.com

During the holidays, we plan changes we’d like to make in the new year and contemplate our future. We’re excited about fresh prospects and making the most of every opportunity. However, as our plans come to fruition, sometimes they aren’t what we expected, and we’re dumbfounded.


That’s when we must take a step back and remember, as Jeremiah did, “…the way of man is not in himself—it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.”[1]


How did Jeremiah know this truth?


Jeremiah was the son of the priest, Hilkiah. He was too young to be a priest himself since thirty was the age for entering the priesthood. Yet, Jeremiah studied and believed God’s Word. In it, he saw that the preparations of the heart—you know, the plans we make—belong to us, but the answer of the tongue and the steps we take are of the Lord. How, then, can we understand our own way?[2]


When the LORD called Jeremiah, He said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” For the moment, Jeremiah forgot what he had learned and did what we all do at times; he argued with God. “Ah, Lord God!”  he said, “Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”


After a light correction, the Lord put forth His hand, touched Jeremiah’s lips, and said, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”[3]


I’m sure Jeremiah did not foresee his life going this way. And, like us, he had made plans for his future. But then Almighty God stepped in. Jeremiah saw the Word he learned take shape. His life and its path were truly in the hand of the LORD. God opened Jeremiah’s understanding and changed the direction of his life.


Does God still do this today? Does He really guide our life’s course, or do we exist in a series of coincidences? Some might say, “No, life is what you make it. Take charge of your own path.” With this mindset, though, we seem to trample anyone who hinders our climb to success.


For many years, Judah had made their own plans, went their own way, worshiped other gods, and cared nothing for their One True and Living God. So, the LORD brought calamity upon them and carried some captive to Babylon, knowing that in their affliction, they would seek Him.[4]


Have you ever noticed how trials seem to bring us to our knees in surrender? Yet, without hope, we humans perish. And God knows.


Despair ravaged the captives. Would the remnant of Judah even survive?


So, as the Most High spoke, Jeremiah penned His comforting and reassuring words and sent this letter to his fellow Judaeans in Babylon. The Almighty had great thoughts and plans for His chosen. He alone would direct their path and give them a future and a hope.[5]


Our LORD has these same thoughts and plans for us in this new year. We don’t know our future, but we can know Who holds it and directs our path. Trust Him with all your heart—for He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.[6]


[1] Jeremiah 10:23

[2] Proverbs 16:1; Proverbs 20:24

[3] Jeremiah 1:1-10

[4] Hosea 5:15

[5] Jeremiah 29:11

[6] Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 1:6


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