11:58. So I’m not impervious to caffeine. Or it’s just the stress of potential change. Change is often the root of insomnia.
“‘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). That’s all well and good, but it’s not as encouraging when you remember that God’s definition of prosper and yours aren’t always the same. We like to think of this as a great encouraging verse when our lives are in the midst of change. But it’s not that encouraging.
The Jews were in captivity in Babylon. God told them to settle in for the long haul. Build houses, plant gardens, get used to life in Babylon, ’cause you’re not going back to Israel anytime soon. He even told the Jews to ignore the so-called prophets who dreamed of returning. Then God says in seventy years he’ll bring the Jews back to the promised land. For he knows the plans he has for them (enter the verse in question).
Context helps, doesn’t it? Hope and a future meant waiting seventy years before returning home again. We don’t always get what we want. But God still takes care of us. I guess that’s the lesson. It’s not necessarily what you want or how you want it, but it works out. Sometimes that’s hard to figure when the math doesn’t add up.
God doesn’t have the same calculator I do. My calculations say I’ll be in debt until I’m 38, and that’s just my school loans. And you really don’t want to wait that long to start a family, so the calculations have to get pretty tight. Children are expensive, though I wouldn’t want to put a monetary value on them. But you can figure the cost of care, which is either the equivalent of one spouse’s salary or daycare, which are often equal or nearly equal numbers. Unless of course you strike the good fortune of free baby-sitting, but that often comes with the perils of resident in-laws. Factor in a mortgage, and my calculator’s laughing at me.
But somehow, I think God’s calculator makes it work. Sometimes I’m tempted to call his bluff and see if it really does. Throw up my hands, bring on the family, take out a mortgage and see what happens. Sometimes I wonder if truly relying on God is the same thing as stupidity. I’m willing to bet they are, God just covers your back.
The one thing I really hate is not being certain about my monetary provision. I remember the few times I’ve been jobless as some of the most stressful times of my life. After my freshman year of college I scoured southeast Michigan looking for a job. Okay, I didn’t look that hard, but I looked everywhere I knew at the time. I ended up crawling back to the grocery store I worked at in high school, and had a blast stocking the shelves again.
The summer after my sophomore year I landed an unpaid internship in Chicago, and applied for every part time job I could find. When Toys R Us offered minimum wage and informed me I’d have to work the register, I said no thanks and literally took to the street.
When I was a senior in college and about to get married and graduate, I applied for everything I could find in my field. I got one interview and actually landed that job.
So I’ve always come up with something, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sick with worry until it happened. I just wish it could be easier. I think I have a trust problem. I know God will provide, that’s what I keep telling myself. But I have to slough through the hell of not knowing how it’s going to happen. I’m the kind of guy who likes to have my ducks in a row. I like to know where everything is coming from, how the bills are getting paid. I’m not good at blind trust. Forgive me, but I would have sunk like a rock if I stepped off the boat. Call Peter what you will, but that guy had guts.
It works out in the end, I just wish I had the script in advance.