I was having a discussion with someone this week about church. This led to me sharing about some of my hopes, my dreams and the things that God is doing in my life. I shared with them my desire to fill the pulpit again someday in God’s good timing. As we talked about God and how good He is to us I was reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Yes, the Lord has plans and a purpose for each and every one of us. He longs to reconcile those who have gone astray, receive them unto Himself so that He can reward them with a place and a purpose in His Kingdom. Sometimes the plans and the purposes that the Lord has for us are not so readily apparent. But just because we are not yet aware of them does not mean that they do not exist.
The Lord demonstrated this to me a few years ago at another time when I was in between preaching jobs. I had sent out about a dozen letters looking for opportunities to provide pulpit supply, waiting for my next assignment from the Lord and I was trying my best to be patient. Patience is a virtue but it is not my strong suit. One of my favorite expressions is “wait is what broke the camel’s back.” Waiting is difficult for me. It is difficult for me now and it was difficult for me then. Several weeks had passed and no one had called me to fill in and provide pulpit supply or do anything else. I felt like a fish out of water as I was no longer preaching every week and as the weeks passed I even began to doubt and in some ways question the calling on my life.
One Saturday morning I was working on a pave stone retaining wall in the back yard. It was about 30 foot long and was 2 – 3 stones high to keep dirt in the flower bed. It was similar to one I had built in the front yard a couple of years earlier. After several hours of hard work, I got ready to put the last stone in place. But this last stone would need to be special. I was going to have to take a rock hammer and score it, chip away at it, cut it in half and shape it in a triangular piece to make it fit just right in that curved area where I needed that final missing piece. The last time I tried to shape one of those stones with a rock hammer it took a long time. As I rested for a moment and reflected on the task before me, I remembered that I had a piece of a stone left over from when I built the retaining wall around the front garden area two years earlier. I saved it and put it in the shed and used it for a door stop. Would it fit? I went to the shed and grabbed the stone and took it to the new retaining wall. It fit perfectly and slid right into place! Tears began to roll down my face. I had been feeling so much anxiety and concern; I was worried about whether or not there would ever be another place for me, something else for me to do. I just knew that this was God’s way of letting me know that in His time, in His way, He would place me right where I needed to be. I had not been forgotten. I had already been shaped by His Hands and designated for a place in His garden.
Oh my friend, don’t ever think that the Lord has forgotten about you. Don’t ever think that you have just been placed in the shed never to be seen or heard from again. You are a special and beloved child of the King and He has plans and purposes for all His children – plans for a future and a hope. Don’t be down, don’t be discouraged! Remember whose you are! Remember that He loves you and will never forsake you and He has never forgotten you! Trust in the Lord and be patient. Hold open doors until He places you in a garden. And remember, holding open doors ain’t bad work either…any work He gives you is special. Until next time, stay strong in the faith.