When “God’s will” freaks you out

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Does this apply to you? Well, yes and no … depending on how you define “plans”.

No, the promise in this verse does not apply to us when we examine why Jeremiah 29:11 was written and we look at to whom was it written. If you disagree, I’d love to hear about your Babylonian exile sometime.

Yes, the promise in this verse does apply but only in the same sense: deliverance & salvation. Undeserved grace came at us despite the fact we didn’t give a rip about God [a] and though we still often chase after other things and make them god, God continues to come at us with His grace anyways. That’s exactly what He did for Israel when all hell was breaking loose in their lives. In a gracious, gospel sense – the verse absolutely applies to us.

If, however, we define God’s “plans for our future” in a modern way, we’ll be off the rails and completely freaked out trying to get divine downloads from Heaven on our every move, every day. We stop relating to God as God because we reduce Him to some sort of cosmic bell-hop. We’ll put God’s nature on trial when our life doesn’t look the way we think it should look because we’re no longer worshipping the God of the bible, but a god of our own construct.

His “plans” were to save Israel. His plans are to save you.

The idea of “knowing God’s will” freaks us out because too often we’ve confused it with the American Dream. It’s stressful to equate God’s will with cultural standards for success because you don’t have to look very far to find someone who didn’t need God to get something you don’t have but are convinced is God’s will that you should have. When God’s will seems underwhelming compared to our will – honey, we’ve shrunk the gospel.

Good news.

You don’t need to stress about “knowing God’s will for your life” because your standing in it.

You’ve been saved by grace and you are in the loving hands of the One whose ability to navigate your life is better than yours. He will use both your joy & your suffering to draw you to Himself for your good and His glory. [1] He gives you peace and hope that transcends the need for everything in your life to work out the way you envision it. He gives you peace and hope that death itself can’t steal. That was His will when Jeremiah 29:11 was written and that remains His will for you today. That applies.

Your day-to-day decisions are important to God and He cares about your life immensely. So much so, that He’s on the other side of your every decision, working it out for your salvation and His glory. [2] His ability to get you where He wants you is infinitely greater than your ability to screw it up. Ask Jonah. [3]

If you’re in Christ – your in God’s will.
Love God, enjoy Him forever and sleep well. [4]

Press on,


[a] Romans 5:8, Ephesians 1-2
[1] II Corinthians 12:9
[2] Romans 8:28
[3] Jonah 1: God speaks, Jonah 2: the prophet does the opposite, Jonah 3: God speaks a second time and His will is accomplished.
[4] Philippians 1:6 – He who began the work, completes it. Yes, He’s actually THAT good.

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