So, last Friday my wallet got stolen. No, I didn't lose it. The leather bound mini-clutch was confiscated from my large purse by a thief, who proceeded to try spending money on my debit card and credit cards at random places. No, I wasn't at some place shady either, I was at a salad place in Union Station where I met a girlfriend for lunch at the time of the theft. And sadly, the time sequence leads me to believe the theft occurred while we were praying over our meal, how crazy is that?! Anyhow, I've never had my wallet stolen and what a pain it has been. Identity theft is a small annoyance in the grand scheme. I won't attempt to overspiritualize this by telling you I kept my focus on Jesus the whole time and didn't get frustrated. I was downright near tears, and exhausted.
In 106 degree heat, with no breeze and standing between two 14 story concrete high rises I witnessed the hustle and bustle of people coming and going. It was oh so hot! I had to go down to the police station to report the theft, and six guys were just being let out of jail at the time - all of them within arms reach of me as I waited for a police officer. I was scared out of my mind!
I was so tempted to wonder, "why is God picking on me?!" Truth is, God HAS made a promise to me. He has promised to give me a hope, a future, and to prosper me and not harm me. I believe Him.
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
You know, I think sometimes Jeremiah 29:11 gets an "overplayed" reputation among Christians. We hear it quoted so often, and a lot of times new believers grasp it as a new truth with excitement. Jeremiah 29:11 may often arrive like a brand new shiny Christmas gift, and then loses its luster over time after we've worn it out a number of times. Some times I hear of Christians who browse right past this verse looking "for something deeper" when wanting to know God's promises to them about their future. Interestingly enough, I was reminded of something "deeper" this weekend.
I shared my testimony briefly with another young lady at the church, and it reminded me of how I once marveled at this verse. This verse was so instrumental in Jesus Christ saving my life. Then I realized, I'd started to forget what I'd been saved from. I too had been overlooking this verse "for something deeper" although not on purpose, I just began to think it had been overplayed like an old song on the radio (you know the ones I'm talking about, the radio overplays them until you'd rather pay them to NOT play the song anymore!). Truth is, this verse is still God's inerrant word. This verse has just as much life as the next one.
Then during the Sunday sermon, the pastor said one way to be consistently reminded of God's grace for us is to tell our testimonies of how we came to know Jesus. He encouraged us to openly share our stories with people. Oddly enough, I'd been reading over John 4 lately and I was in awe of just how God uses our stories.
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." ...And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." - John 4:39, 41-42, NIV
Your story has value. His promises have value - new and old. When unfortunate matters come up in life, God is not picking on you. He is ALWAYS looking out for your good, because He is good. It takes trusting Him (Proverbs 3:5-6), and knowing He turns everything into good (Romans 8:28). And these truths may require you to stand on some of the more "overplayed" yet incredibly wonderful, inerrant verses in God's word. Embrace it. These repeated verses have a reason for being repeated so many times. There is a reason some verses are printed on bookmarks, plaques, and keychains more than others. They are so very true. God's word is to nourish us, and its clear these verses - and all of His word - provides deep nourishment for us. So, enjoy. Stand on His immovable word, it never gets old. Embrace your story, and share it. Share it often as a reminder of God's grace to you, and let it help you in giving your grace to others. These verses allow you to enjoy the journey, and even just another day in Washington, DC.