My precious ones are in the middle of sorority rush. Well, actually the end as bid day is today. It has been a little bit of a rollercoaster of a week, with unexplained cuts, confusion, and all that other joyous rush stuff (spoken sarcastically).
My rush experience was pretty darn awful after the first three days, yet it is also a time in which I can look back and SO clearly see the Lord's hand directing me where he wanted me. So I know that this experience for my dear girls is a time of refinement. I knew going in that feelings would be hurt, but trusted the Lord to place them exactly where he wanted them. Because of that knowledge, I have showered them with verses to hopefully remind them that their value lies not in which sorority they are in (or not in), or what happens with their friends, or dorm, or classes, or anything else. Their value is rooted solely in the fact that God sent his Son to live a perfect life, die an excrutiating death, conquer death, and raise us in the newness of life. "He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight." Ephesians 1:4
At the same time, I know he may also allow hurt and shattered dreams, if it's what will best lead them to be more like Christ. It's the hurt I wish I could shield them from, but know it's necessary.
One of the verses that has come to mind as I've prayed for them is the ever-famous Jeremiah 29:11. As I meditated on it, though, I started to wrestle with the "not to harm you" line. As I really thought about it, I was confused as hurt and suffering for Christ is promised. And it's a necessary part of refinement and growth in Christ. So what does it mean?
It kept popping into my head yesterday over and over...almost to the point of annoyance! And then I realized, my definition of harm is not the same as the Lord's. To me, I want to feel comfortable. I want to have what I want. I also desire this for the others in my life who I love. But to God, THAT is harmful. Keeping me where I am, sitting in the depravity of sin does not give me a hope or a future (the last words of the verse). My flesh naturally desires temporal comfort whereas God is in the business of lasting joy and eternal security. And for that, the fleshly desires must be stripped away. My hands must be ripped from the earthly things and moved over to heavenly ones.
So it's true. The Lord knows the plans he has for us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us by keeping us where we are. But plans to give us a lasting hope and future through stripping away us and molding us to be more like Christ. It'll hurt for a little while, but it will create freedom on earth as those worldly bits are stripped away and eternal joy in heaven.
Thankful he doesn't harm me by keeping me where I am.