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 (NIV)
Have you failed in anything during the past year? I’m going to guess that the answer is a big “YES.” I certainly have. And in my own case — and I think, in many other peoples’ cases — some of the failures have been in things that I considered selfless, or at least a “good cause.” People fail in their attempts to stop committing a persistent sin, for example.
But we must remember one specific and central thing about God’s plan for us. No matter how many times we may fail, and no matter how huge and spectacular the failure may be, it has a purpose. God’s plan for us is for a success so perfect, so large, so eternal, that our eventual success will eclipse all of our failures in life and make them into nothing.
Our verse comes from Jeremiah and, in context, specifically concerns the Jews. We know from the Bible that, in one sense, Judaism was a complete failure. It was doomed from the beginning; the Law was actually incapable of bringing salvation to those who followed it. Israel came closest to fulfilling the Law in the reign of David; but the very next king (Solomon) sinned so badly that Israel was torn asunder, conquered, dispersed, and exiled.
Yet, the failure of the Law was not final, for the failure was part of God’s plan. He intended that the Hebrews would fail; the Law was necessary that the Jews, and the world, might understand its sin and be prepared to hear the message of the Messiah. (Galatians 3:19) Christ “accomplished the purpose for which the law was given.” (Romans 10:4, NLT)
And so our personal failures and failings can be seen in the light of Jeremiah. Not only is failure not permanent, but it can be part of God’s plan for our perfection and salvation. No matter how desperate we may feel at our situation in life, God gives us “a future and a hope.” Our plans are made of straw, but God’s plan for us is made of undefeatable spirit. So we should never feel despair; our future is assured, even in our failures.
This is the time of year to put all sense of failure behind us and look to the future. Let us stride into the New Year in absolute faith and abundant hope, for God’s plan is our welfare, a promise of total victory.
Oh heavenly Father, who has created me, and preserved my life, and promised the joy of eternal life to all who come to Him through his only Son, Jesus Christ: I vow and determine to grow in my faith during the coming year, learning your holy Word, coming to you in prayer every day, and resolving to walk in all those good works which you have commanded us to walk in.In Jesus,
Bless me in my endeavors, dear God; if it may please you, send your Holy Spirit to always remind and correct me when I stray from your path; and renew in me, today and every day, a sense of prayer without ceasing. Let me honor you with my time, my love, my bounty, my words and deeds, as I lay up my treasure in heaven. In Christ's name, I pray, Amen.
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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation®, NLT® copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Have you failed in anything during the past year?