The plans of God
God said through the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (29:11-13)
This is a difficult article to write because it is my last one as pastor at St. John. It is hard to know what to say. I could reminisce all that we have experienced together for the past 18 years but that is “water under the bridge.” We all have different recollections of what was important and what was good or bad.
What I will always cherish is the way that you allowed me to be a part of your everyday life. I was blessed to be there with you at the births of your children, their baptisms, confirmations, graduations, and weddings. You invited me into your hospital rooms, we shared your fears when your health took a turn for the worse, and we shared God’s word when loved-ones went home to the Lord. I felt like part of your family and was honored to be the one who was able to show you God’s love and grace. These memories are priceless and will remain with me forever.
I thank God for giving me this opportunity to be your pastor and His under-shepherd. I have always believed that my life was a gift from Him and that every experience was part of His plan for me. That is why I began this letter with the words from Jeremiah. They have always been a reminder to me that things don’t just happen because I want them to. Things, for better or worse, happen according to God’s plan. This had its start at creation when God put His plan into motion. I was a part of that plan even then.
The main point of God’s plan is that it is always working for my good (and all those who believe). Even when I fail to follow His plan, He humbles me and brings me back on board through repentance and forgiveness. He has done this through my parents, siblings, co-workers, and most importantly through His church (my beloved people) as we share His Word and Sacraments in worship. This will all continue until He calls us home to be with Him in heaven.
His plan may be leading us on different paths for a while, but that is OK because all of our personal paths are still a part of His universal path that leads us to the same destination with Him and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I know that He has good things prepared for me that I have not even imagined and that is always exciting. But I know that He has awesome things planned for each of you and also for St. John as His precious church. There is no greater blessing than to know that the Almighty God has His plans for you and that they are always for your good!
Rejoice every day that you are a baptized child of God. Take every opportunity to listen to His Word so that He can remind you of His plan for you and how you can best live it out. The future is bright for all of us because we live in the light of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His love will always unite us as the family of God.
Finally, put your trust in God to provide you with all that you need to get through the changes that come to all of us. God is good and He will be good forever!
Thanks be to God for all His blessings!