As we take our first steps into 2022, I suspect many of us have a sense of relief as we ring out 2021. It’s true that the last couple of years have been unusually difficult, as we’ve had to learn to navigate the losses and challenges of living through a global pandemic.
In last month’s column, I touched on how Christians can reconcile times of such prolonged distress and upheaval with our faith: We can know that God loves us and remains close to us through it all, because He sent His Son to show us the way to Him. That’s what we remember and celebrate at Christmas.
But there’s another valid question that you may have been asked, or have wondered yourself: Besides sending Jesus to save us, does God really care about what happens in our life?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” God’s Word says, “and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”1 Yet, as we all know by experience, not everything is easy or happens exactly as we would like in life. Our lives at times may feel like a bumper-car ride—like we’re continually running into one obstacle after another and getting bounced in every direction. Does God ever let things get too hard? Sometimes it can seem that way.
In the prophet Jeremiah’s time, the Israelites were defeated militarily, scattered, and in exile. Even in their darkest hour, though, God reassured them that this was also part of His plan and that He continued to pull for them.
It’s one of my favorite verses, and readers will note that I’ve quoted it often. “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”2 Sure enough, at the appointed time, God worked in the hearts of the Persian rulers to enable several waves of Israelites to return and rebuild their lives in their homeland.
When we encounter our own setbacks and disappointments, or are lost and wondering what became of God’s plan for us, let’s not despair. God’s plan is never defeated, and He never gives up trying to help us catch on or catch up.
From all of us at Activated, may your new year be filled with God’s blessings, care, and direction.
- Proverbs 3:5–6
- Jeremiah 29:11