I feel like I learn more about God and my life every moment, even in the art I create. As I ponder certain verses, I see His love and meaning more clearly each and every time I put color and images down on canvas.
This week I’m pondering a favorite verse of mine, but one I’ve only come to really understand in the last few years.
I used to believe that God was mad at me. That perhaps He even didn’t like me so much. I thought because I had bad things happen to me that God was punishing me for something. Combine that with the verbal abuse I received as a small girl (no man will ever love you, you’re stupid, you’re lazy, life was so great before we had you, you’re a…) my mind fully accepted that I must have did something as a baby or as a child to receive such abuse. I blamed God and was pretty mad at Him about it.
As I learned later, we hurt the ones we love, and I love God above all others. I loved Him, chased Him, prayed to Him fervently… but I was angry with Him every time I was dealt another blow. I was operating under the assumption that if I was good, God would make it easier for me. So I became an overachiever looking for approval and love from everyone, including God.
It’s a dangerous assumption, and one that isn’t exactly true. First, we can’t be good enough for God but He loves us as we are. Also, He doesn’t want us to suffer, but He also doesn’t guarantee things will be easy. In fact, we’re pretty much told that being a follower of His in this fallen world will cause problems for us. But He’s there with us, through it all.
I combine all this with what I believe is my mission. The reason I’m here. I think it is to share things like this, to show that you can be a mess who has had people trying to break your spirit from birth and yet find a beautiful life through Him. Not without disappointments or heartache, but beautiful nonetheless. I accept this as my mission, and when life kicks me in the teeth (as it always will), I rely on His strength.
I don’t understand everything that happens in life. The older I get the less I understand. But I finally acknowledge that it doesn’t matter if I get it all, that trusting that one day, when I’m reunited with my maker, He’ll clue me in on everything I was in the dark about here.
So that’s why this verse, from Jeremiah 29:11, resonates so strongly with me.
“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.”
This verse isn’t about an assurance that we’ll avoid suffering while on earth, but rather a promise that in God’s plan I am important. It is a “future” that goes behind time and space and into a world I can’t imagine right now as I write these words. But one that I know exists and know I am a part of, and it doesn’t involve God’s anger or wrath or punishment. He’s not the one hurting me. Or you.