Indecision opens the door for a spirit of depression. When we are unsure of our purpose, place in life, and destination, we will often flail about like sails on a ship “caught in irons.”
A sailboat “caught in irons” finds itself with the bow pointed “dead” into the wind, stalled, and unable to maneuver. The wind’s energy flows over and around the vessel, but the vessel remains trapped between crests of waves and swells. The ship’s rudder does not respond to the commands from the helm, leaving the vessel and crew at the mercy of the sea and in danger of capsizing.
The Apostle Paul speaks of those, “Tossed back and forth by the waves. Blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Paul’s is a message of remaining confident of the words of God and Christ, but his instruction is also beneficial for each of us seeking to understand our purpose, place among the crew, and destination.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a familiar passage that is often misapplied, but many of the promises of God found elsewhere in scripture are summed up in this verse.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.
When faced with indecision we can take comfort in knowing that God has a plan. And not one plan, but several. Like the skipper of a sailboat, we have command of the rudder and sails. Once we know God’s immediate plan for us, we can plot our course and hold our heading based on the magnetic line of his moral compass. In this way we break free of the “irons” and sail on with confidence.
“I have plans to prosper you,” declares the Lord.
We must be careful not to claim this verse as a promise of immediate and forever prosperity. It is not. But Christ did promise that if we are in him and he is in us, we will enjoy life and enjoy it to the full. Much of what the world calls prosperity is a prison. Excessive wealth leads to endless worries. How to keep it? Who seeks to steal it? When to spend it? A sound, well-built vessel that is properly outfitted and provisioned needs nothing but crew to guide her. This is the type of abundant life those in Christ can have.
A life in Christ is a life of adventure, new horizons, new relationships, joy in giving, joy in receiving, peace during storms, patience in times of trials and gales. When we are in Christ, at all times, regardless of our circumstances, we can prosper if we will heed the heading he gives.
“I will not harm you,” declares the Lord.
God is good. That is his character. And God never changes. Though he will chastise us, it is always to get our attention, to call us to repent, and turn back to him. Other times, when a person’s heart becomes so hardened that they refuse to repent, he will use that individual as an example of what becomes of the rebellious and obstinate.
God desires that, “All people be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) Never let this thought linger in your mind: “God hates me. That’s why this happened. He caused this sickness, this disaster, this _____.” Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Christ came to give life, hope, and a future.
“I plan to give you hope and a future,” declares the Lord.
When God confronted Moses at the Burning Bush, he asked, “What is in your hand?” Oftentimes the thing in our hand is part of God’s plan. Not always, but most times. Though the staff (a big stick) was a part of God’s plan for Moses, his days of herding sheep were over. Now Moses would herd people. He would become the leader of a new nation. He would see God perform miracles of healing. He would see God inflict death and punishment on his enemies.
The thing in his hand was but a small part of God’s plan for Moses. Never underestimate what God can do with the skills, experience, and education you have. Also never be afraid to step forward into a new work for which you have no skills, no experience, and no education. In God’s timing under his guidance, he has, can, and will raise up servants who will do great things through him.
Unsure of your purpose, place in life, and destination? Run up the white flag. Surrender yourself to Christ. Climb into his vessel. Let his Holy Spirit fill you. With him in you and you in him you will do great works.
In fact, you will do greater works than he. (John 14:12) And Christ performed miracles, healed all the sick who came to him, raised the dead, spoke life into inanimate objects (bread, wine), walked on water and would later walk through walls. If you wish to do even greater things than these, get into Christ.