Ready and Waiting: A Lesson in the Present

So... where are you going to college?

What do you want to do after you graduate?

Got any cool summer plans?

Are you ready for the mission trip?

The future is bright, folks.  With four weeks of Brazil and El Salvador, followed by the beginning of my life as a college student, I have a lot to look forward to.

Which makes focusing on exams and school work pretty hard.  After all, I'm practically graduated?  Can't I just be done already?!

No.  Because as bright as my future is, it sometimes blinds me to what's happening right here.  If it were up to me, I would already be bag-packed and headed off to a foreign, preferably warm, country for mission work.  Instead I am anchored in land-locked Indiana with 6 IB exams, 3 finals, and a sorry case of senior-itis.

What's with this, God?

Today, I found myself looking through old pictures of a previous mission trip to El Salvador and thinking, "Why can't I just be there already?"  I wasn't expecting a reply, but God answered loud and clear: "Because, Jessica, I want you here.  Trust that I know what I'm doing and I don't make mistakes.  Don't be so caught my plans for your future that you miss what I ask of you today."

It was a humbling response.  God doesn't make mistakes.  We never need to wait to do what God asks of us because there will always be an opportunity to do so in the present, even if it's not in the form we expected.

One of the most-quoted verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11: " 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 a hope and a future."

It's a great verse, but we forget the context!  Verses 7 and 10 read, "Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.   Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper... when seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place."

God wasn't just promising the people of Israel a prosperous future, He was giving them a meaningful present.  Certainly it wasn't the one they dreamed of, but it was the one that would bring them closer to God.

So whether you read this from a portable laptop in Africa or a living-room desktop in Kansas, remember this: God has more than a plan for your future.  He has a purpose for your present.


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