Thanksgiving Thoughts

There is a famous verse in scripture which Christians often like to quote:

“For 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.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

What most people who quote this verse probably don’t know is the context in which it was given.  This statement comes from a letter which God had Jeremiah send to the exiled rulers of Israel just after God had them carried off  by the Babylonians as the result of their sin and rebellion against Him.  Odds are that the exiled leaders found God’s statement of good intent for them to be in gross conflict with the reality of the suffering and exile God had cast them into.  If most of us are truthful, we would admit that when things are really bad with no hope of getting better, our trust in God’s goodness and His intentions can be shaken.  Sometimes we turn against God entirely because clearly he is not looking out for us and we believe that his words have been put to lie.  But it is exactly into these situations that God makes his promise:

“For 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.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

I thought of this today when I read a post by Mark Roberts in which he talks about the origin of the Christian hymn “Now Thank We All Our God”.  The hymn was written by a pastor in a walled German city during a time of such suffering and death.  His name was Martin Rinkhart and in his time as pastor in this city, he sometimes performed as many as 50 funerals a day.  And yet in the midst of all the pain and suffering he was in daily contact with, he was able to write a song of God’s goodness and power.  Which can only come from a heart which sees beyond the circumstances we find ourselves to hold onto the greater reality of the goodness promised to us.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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