The Seed of Hope

Jeremiah 29:11 ‘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.’
I don’t believe in random occurrences. I firmly believe that God has an intent and plan for us. We are not the sovereign masters of our fate. Only God is sovereign. His sovereign control is called “providence.” He has chosen to give us a free will, and He has created a moral universe in which the law of cause-and-effect is a reality…but God is God alone, and there are no accidents and it’s obvious to assume that an all-wise, all-powerful God must have a plan. And though we regularly try to run from it, alter it or ignore it, fighting against the plan of God is pointless. Proverbs 21:30 tells us “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD” This is why the Tower of Babel was never completed (Genesis 11:1-9), why Daniel’s enemies were thrown to the lions (Daniel 6:24) and why Jonah spent some time inside the belly of a fish (Jonah 1:17).

Even what we would normally call “chance” or “fate” is under God’s control. Consider what Proverbs 16:33 says “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD”. Everything that happens in the world is made to work out according to God’s purpose. Evil exists, terrible things happen, but it doesn’t thwart God’s providence…nor will it EVER. God uses even sinful men for His purposes. “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases” (Proverbs 21:1). God worked in the hearts of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:36) and King Artaxerxes (Ezra 7:27) to bring about His purpose. Even when Man’s intent is purely evil, God can still bring about His will, as was the case when Jesus was crucified (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).

David recognized that the Lord had a plan for him. Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. Jeremiah revealed that the LORD told him that He had a plan for his life, Jeremiah 1:4-5 “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’”. So, it goes without reason that God’s sovereignty reaches even to a plan for you and I.

Lisa and I are quickly coming up on 1st wedding anniversary and it has me thinking and realizing exactly how God has planted ‘seeds’ of hope years before Lisa and I even met. Back in 1997, when we moved from Green Bay to Baraboo, Amy met a young mother at the public pool where they had both taken the kids for swimming lessons. Over the next 9 years, Kari and Amy became very good friends and served on Baraboo’s version of the PTA together for many years. While I knew Kari, she was more Amy’s friend than mine. Amy even befriended Kari’s husband Jerry as he managed one of the local grocery stores.

Lisa grew up in a small town in western Minnesota, less than an hour from the South Dakota boarder. While she was growing up, she had a very close girlfriend by the name of Chris. Chris and Lisa were so close in fact, that Lisa even lived with Chris and her family for a time, eventually went to college together and to this day are still close friends. Chris had a younger sister who Lisa was close to as well…her name was Kari.

Kari was there when Lisa was married, she was there when both of her boys were born and through each preceding pregnancy...and she was there through the pain and disillusionment Lisa felt when that marriage ended. Kari was there when Amy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and knew of mountain top highs and shadowed valley lows of the journey Amy walked...and she was there when Amy's journey ended 9 months later.

Kari continued to follow my previous blog, reading about how I and the kids were getting along. One day several months later, Kari showed my blog to Lisa. Lisa told me that she spent the next three weeks reading my blog. Much later, Kari did confide that while initially it was a little weird for her to be the catalyst that drew Lisa and I together, she knew it just felt right. Kari was the photographer at our wedding!

Now, am I saying that I believe God wanted Lisa to divorce or Amy's life to end at such a young age so that we would be together? ABSOLUTELY NOT! What would that say about the character of God? Evil, death and disease entered the world when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. The verses from Jeremiah 1 that I quoted above, makes it plain that God knows the path our lives will take us, but we have this promise from Romans 8:28 'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.' What I AM saying is the face of such tragic occurrences, it's obvious to me that God had been and continues to be at work...working to turn tragedy to good and tears to joy...why? Because THAT is the character of God!

Thank you Kari...for allowing yourself to be God's seed of hope in both Lisa's life and mine.
Thank you Babe...for taking that step of faith, for reigniting my life and showing me how to love again!

~ V


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