We are children of Almighty God. He is our Father, He loves us, and He has a plan for us. We are not here in this life just to waste our time, grow old, and die. God wants us to grow and achieve our potential. (Elder Carlos A. Godoy, The Lord Has a Plan for Us! October 2014)
Given the way my life has gone, I sometimes do find myself wondering if God really does have a plan for me. My life was going along so well, I couldn’t believe it! I had the greatest childhood ever! I went to college, got hired to teach seminary full time and started a family. Everything was like a cute family movie. Right up until it wasn’t! 😊 Within one year my dad passed away, I lost my job (I had made a career change from teaching seminary), and then I was hit by the reality of divorce. If God had a plan…this was it?
Luckily, I found some scriptures that helped.
Scripture #1: We will win!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)
This is a powerful verse of winning and conquering. And when it is tied with another verse from Paul it gave me some of the strength I needed.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 17)
I had to realize that part of God’s plan was being troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down. Paul used the words “light affliction” to describe it. (We might not always agree with the word “light” when we think of our afflictions, but I think Paul was making a point!).
What I was going through was not evidence of the lack of a plan, it was the plan in its actual fulfillment. God’s plan is that we come to earth and experience all these things, turn to Christ and still “do all things.”
The pain is evidence of the plan because of the healing that follows.+
Scripture #2: Even if I can’t see it now.
Nephi experienced something else that raised my hope and faith.
When Nephi was writing on 2 sets of plates, he wasn’t exactly sure why.
Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not. (1 Nephi 9:5)
He didn’t know what was going on with God’s plan…and this was Nephi! Here is what he did know.
But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. (1 Nephi 9:6)
While he did not know all the parts of God’s plan, he did know that the Lord knew all things and has all power to fulfill that plan. This gave me hope. If someone like Nephi (who knew so much) still didn’t know all the details of God’s plan for him, but he could still move with faith, I could do.
And speaking of Nephi I wonder if at any point when he was tied up on the boat, or getting beaten up by his brothers, or tied up and being left for dead in the wilderness, or starving and making his own bow, or arguing with his brothers over the boat, or a hundred other difficult things that happened to him, I wonder if he ever had a little doubt of God’s plan?
O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! (2 Nephi 2:26, 27, 33)
For Nephi, the pain was part of the plan. It was designed to bring him to Christ and feel the strength to do all things.
Because as Nephi said, “Wherefore, if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day. And thus it is. Amen.” (1 Nephi 22:31)
These verses have really helped remind me that God does have a plan for me. A plan that does include pain and discomfort and also love, healing, kindness and grace. I hope they help you find that too.