Verse of the Week:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Our verse this week is probably one of the most oft quoted verses in the Bible and most memorized and most loved by Christians. And why not? Its message is so comforting and full of hope.
Have you ever walked through a season of life where you were hard pressed to believe that this verse was true? Or that it might be true for others, but that this promise was not for you? I’m sure that most of us have been there at least once.
As I was pondering this verse recently, I was reminded of a story from the life of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie who were both sent to a Nazi concentration camp during WWII for harboring Jews in their home. Corrie lived to tell her story, though sadly, her beloved sister died there shortly before Corrie was freed.
Corrie and Betsie were first imprisoned in the Netherlands and finally moved to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany in September, 1944. At some point, they were moved from one barracks to another and the new barracks was filthy and infested with fleas. The conditions were horrible and the stench was almost unbearable. The torment from the fleas was inescapable.
What must have looked like total abandonment by God turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the guards avoided coming into this barracks because of the fleas! This gave them a level of “freedom” within the barracks to conduct bible studies with their fellow prisoners. They were able to lead some of them to Jesus due to the fact that the guards did not often check on them.
Through this story, we can see how God sometimes uses our suffering as a means to protection, blessing, and ultimately a blessed future. Even though Betsie died in Ravensbruck, she went to be with Jesus and received the ultimate freedom and reward. Corrie lived many years after her release and spent the rest of her life sharing her story and her faith. Her life continues to impact the world for Christ to this day.
What can we learn from Corrie’s story? That even what appears to be the bleakest circumstance, even what may seem like abandonment by God, may be the very thing God uses to bring about our future hope. We have only to continue believing in the One who cannot lie, whose words never return to Him void — the One who will accomplish all that He intends.
Live it out this week
Consider the possibility that all that we as a country and world have experienced during the pandemic will be woven into what God has planned for each of us, His children, to bring us to our future of hope. While we cannot see what that future hope will look like for each of us as individuals, we can rest assured that our ultimate future is eternity with Him and will be worth every trial we experience here on earth. In the meantime, He will walk through every event of our lives with us, never leaving or forsaking us.
Father, give us the strength to endure the sufferings of this world and the grace to sustain us as we walk in faith with You. Fill us with Your peace as we wait expectantly for the future hope You have promised. In the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen
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