‘Hidden Hand’ Meditations No.1: God has plans for us
Jer 29:11 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.
I want to take this well-known and much quoted verse from Jeremiah as a starting point for an expedition, if we may call it that, to investigate the hidden hand of God, which is usually referred to as Providence. I happened the stumble across a verse the other day which clearly implied that God had been behind the events which were happening, and it set me off down this path of pondering on this fact that the Bible is quite blatant about this – God is at work in His world in ways that quite often we don’t see and, even worse, merely call coincidence.
I used to have a friend who said, “The only thing about prayer, is that when I stop praying the coincidences stop happening.” But that seems to imply that when we don’t pray the coincidences don’t happen, but the fact is, they do; things do happen that we think, “Oh, wow, that’s strange, what a coincidence!” Now I’m not going quite as far as saying that every coincidence is God at work, but as I start browsing through Scripture, I have to acknowledge that things happen where God’s name isn’t actually mentioned, but it is pretty clear that He must have had a hand in it. So we’ll check some of these out in the next month. I’m going to start with some verses that imply this in terms of principles revealed in specific verses, and then I’m going on to look at the lives of some of the people we find in the Bible and the things that happen to them or around them that testify to this fact, God was on the move – unseen!
So I’m starting with the declaration from the Lord that Jeremiah brings us and will just point out a couple of things that perhaps we normally take for granted when we read it. “I know the plans I have for you.” Now we can take that two ways. First, it might mean, I know what I would like to happen to you that will bless you, so if I share them with you, you can apply them and work them out. I’ve got a feeling that that is how most of the time, most of us see it: I’ve got the Bible which is my instruction book, and the onus is on me to apply it. Now I think there is a truth in that, but the rest of Scripture suggests to me that there is a second way of seeing this: it is God saying, I will be working to bring good into your life, I will be doing things in and around you that will bring that good to you.
The other thing to note here is the nature or character of all God will be doing for us – to prosper us (make us flourish), not to harm or injure us (that lets us live securely and without fear), but to work to bring fresh hope and a positive future. THAT is what the hidden hand of God is doing ALL the time on our behalf. Now on the basis that it is hidden, it requires faith on our behalf to believe it. Demonstrate it by thanking Him for it.