I am considering changing my life verse. Up to now, I have clung to Jeremiah 29:11-13 –
“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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
That’s the kind of verse that will carry you through a tough situation or times of uncertainty, times when you are waiting on God’s clear direction for you. That’s the verse that carried me through a four year dating relationship with Flamingo Joe that honestly appeared to be going nowhere. It carried me through the year or two when I was trying to quit my job to stay home with Casey. It carried me through some really crazy and painful church transitions. I could always pray, “Okay, God, I am clueless here. It seems like you would want me to do X, but X is not happening. Y seems to be happening instead. But so long as you know the plans for me and for my family, I can let go of trying to control the outcome.”
The appeal of Jeremiah 29:11-13 for me was its clear reminder that God’s plans are better than my plans and I did not need to be afraid. The desire to control everything around me is rooted in fear, plain and simple.
That, of course, and if everyone would just do what I told them to do, life would be much better for everyone, don’t you agree? No?
But I have determined that the opposite of fear just might be laughter — not nervous laughter — but being able to laugh in delight at seeing the hand of God move and being able to laugh at the days to come. Sarah named her only son, born to her when she was 90 years old, Isaac — which means ‘laughter’.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6
Sarah was remembered as a woman who did not give in to fear. (1 Pet. 3:6) When I read that recently, I was stopped in my tracks. That’s what I want people to say about me — I want to be remembered as a woman who did not give in to fear.
Proverbs 31 is the well-known final chapter in the book of Proverbs that extols the many worthy traits of the virtuous woman. The virtuous woman is lauded as a hard worker whose husband praises her and whose children arise and call her blessed. Yes, that’s a high bar and I keep waiting for the day my children will arise and do anything more than grunt. Nonetheless, my favorite verse in this chapter is verse 25 –
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Laugh at the days to come? You mean all those days in the future when my kids might rebel? You mean those retirement days for which we will be completely financially unprepared? You mean those days when we lose family members and close friends to debilitating illness and death? THOSE days??
I can laugh at THOSE days to come?
How on earth?
To them (believers) God has chosen to make known . . . the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Our pastor said this phrase over and over again Sunday morning during his sermon. The notation in the margin of my Quest Study Bible says this in regard to Col. 1:27 — “What is the hope of glory? Paul uses ‘hope’ to refer to the assured outcome of God’s saving purpose for his people. Glory means God’s brilliant splendor and presence.”
I am beginning to understand that we can laugh at the days to come because we have Christ in us, the hope of glory. God’s brilliant splendor and presence is in us.
When we surrender to Christ, God’s brilliant splendor and presence is in us and it wells up and spills over and we cannot help but laugh. Sarah laughed when Isaac was born even though she was 90 years old.
And I can laugh because Jeremiah 29:11-13 says that God knows the plans He has for me and that they are plans for good and not for evil.
So go ahead and giggle — God has good plans for you no matter your present circumstances, no matter your uncertain future.
Christ in YOU, the hope of glory!