"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
Have you ever wondered if God has a plan or purpose for your life? Lately, I have been asking myself that same question. You see, for years, I thought His plan was made perfectly clear to me when, at the age of 17, He revealed that I would sing for Him. I was in church on New Year's Eve. During prayer, I heard the Lord say to me, "This year, you will begin to serve me with your voice." I thought, "Cool! I love to sing, and I would be willing to do that." But my immediate thought after that was, "How?" Well, God had it all figured out beforehand, and I never had to worry about the "how." The day after New Year's Day, I received a phone call from a Christian organization asking me to come to sing for a weekend at their camp. I said I would but that I had never done anything like that before. They said, "Then come practice on us." They would provide meals, a room to sleep and a way to get there.
Well, you didn't have to tell me twice that God was up to something. Especially when to this day, I still don't know how these people heard of me or got my number! I suspect one of my friends wanted to jump-start my ministry and recommended me, but no one owned up to it, which has always made me feel God's hand was at work. So I accepted, despite my inexperience at performing. You see, up until then, I had been vocally trained and knew how to play the guitar. I had even written twenty or more songs. But I had never performed them in front of anybody. I was nervous, but God had a plan.
For thirty years, I stepped out and sang for God until it all came to a crashing halt after an emergency surgery resulted in doctors ruining my vocal cords. The devastation I felt is hard to express. It wouldn't be wrong to say that my meaning in life (my purpose) vanished, and I would wander aimlessly for many months. But God had a plan.
God had a plan for the prophet Jeremiah as well. He had that plan before Jeremiah was even formed in his mother's womb. Think about that. Before Jeremiah was born, God knew him. Before he was born, God sanctified him to do a specific work - to be a prophet to the nations. Did Jeremiah question God on His designs for his life? You bet! Jeremiah's number one concern was that he was too young for such a mission.
Then said I:“Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
In other words, Jeremiah was worried that no one would listen to him because he was too young. This verse doesn't mean he couldn't speak eloquently or that he wasn't intelligent enough to tackle matters about God. It means he was too young to speak on issues concerning God to his elders. You see, Jeremiah came from a family of priests (Jeremiah 1:1) and being a teenager, he would never presume to speak for God to them. He was worried God had got the wrong guy.
When I discovered that I would never get my singing voice back, I struggled with my identity. I still do sometimes because, in my mind, I was created to sing for God. I do not feel qualified to teach His Word. I only know that I'm supposed to. How? It was the way He prepared me.
Long before the surgery, I had taken an interest in writing as a hobby. So much so I took a writing course. I also discovered a whole new Bible study world through Precept Ministries, and I was "digging deeper" with each study. I also took training on how to teach these studies. God used all those experiences to fulfill the next stage in His plan for me - to write and teach Bible studies (and occasionally pen a novel or two). When I finally said yes to God, I will never forget the moment. I was at my computer and said, "Okay Lord, not my will but yours be done. Use my hands the same way you used my voice." The next thing I knew, a novel was pouring out through my fingertips about the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother. That book, Come to Me, would go on to win an Honorable Mention through the Reader's Favorite Awards and be the jumping start for future Bible Studies I would write. By writing the book, I had to dig into history, research the culture of the times and dig deeper into Scripture. The more I did that, the more I realized how much I loved digging into God's Word and sharing it with others.
So, do I still wonder what my purpose is? Sometimes. You see, I now have another battle to deal with. I have stage 3 lipo-lymphedema, which has left me disabled. I can no longer walk without assistance or stand for long periods (I have to use a scooter outside and a walker inside my house). I need help getting my shoes on and off, and cleaning my house (doing "normal" things) has been relegated to my husband and son. Because my legs are so big (they are filled with lymph fluid, a consequence of the lymphatic system being shot), I spend most of my days with my feet up because my legs have to be elevated. Before the pandemic, I had stopped attending church because it is painful for me to sit with my legs down for more than an hour. So I miss fellowship with others, and unfortunately, when you are housebound, people tend to forget you exist. So I haven't really heard from anyone in my church (except for a dear friend) for close to seven years. So trying to stay positive while my future looks bleak has been a challenge. But, this one thing I know and cling to - God has a plan.
God has a plan for your life, too, and like Jeremiah, He knew you before you were born. He has created you for a specific purpose. He gave you talents and passions (maybe even a disability or a hardship) that He wants you to use to bring others to Him. You may think God cannot use you in your current state. You would be wrong.
From the beginning, God had a plan. His name was Jesus. Whose purpose was to bring sinners into fellowship with God through His atoning sacrifice on the cross. God's plan is that no one should perish in their sins (John 3:16). Jesus' life was freely given to save yours from eternal damnation. If you know Him as your Saviour, then you already know God's plan for your life. You have been commissioned by Him to go and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:16-20).
So go! Be a Jeremiah and trust that God's plan for you will be fulfilled.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.