“I Know the Plans I Have for You” – Trusting God When His Plan Is Scary and Hard

“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 see the familiar phrase scribbled in high school yearbooks and hear it spoken in commencement speeches. I even read it in personal notes from friends when I’m starting a new job or relocating to a new home. Nothing encourages my heart quite like Jeremiah 29:11. But then there are those unwelcome circumstances, where hope feels like a distant dream. I question God, “How can this be happening?” I push this verse aside and look for a different answer. Dread finds its way into my thoughts and I feel like I’m constantly fighting against it. I know God is with me in the midst of my fear, but I wonder. Could this trial really be part of His plan for me?

If you’ve ever struggled to trust God through life’s hardest times, take heart. Women throughout history have walked this road and discovered what it truly means to trust our Heavenly Father. Women like Hagar. Through her seemingly impossible situation, she learned a life-changing lesson in trust. Her story gives us hope today as we face life’s battles. Here are 5 things we can learn from Hagar about trusting God when His plan for us is scary and hard.

for i know the plans i have for you jeremiah 29 11

God has a plan when we don’t know which way to go.

Hagar lived in the shadow of Sarah, a well-respected and honored woman. The strained relationship between the two women resulted in Hagar making two trips into the desert. The first time, she chose to leave on her own, but the second time, Abraham sent her away at Sarah’s request. “So she turned to Abraham and demanded, ‘Get rid of that slave woman and her son…’” (Genesis 21:10 NLT). Her circumstances were beyond her control.

When things happen that I can’t control, I feel powerless. I long to follow God’s plan, but how can I when all I see is vastness surrounding me? There’s no paved road pointing the way and no one there to offer a helpful word of advice. Like Hagar, I end up roaming around without knowing what to do. “…she wandered aimlessly in the wilderness of Beersheba,” (Genesis 21:14).

Emptiness can be scary. It reveals our insecurities, telling us we are alone and validating our fears. But with God, emptiness doesn’t equal loneliness. During those times when we don’t have a clue which direction to go, we can let the stillness push away all distractions so we sense God’s presence more than ever. He will calm our anxious thoughts and give us the direction we seek. “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left,” (Isaiah 30:21).

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