Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.”
Sometimes, especially for anyone who has survived traumatic events or circumstances, this is one of the hardest verses to process. One thinks, well if You weren’t going to harm me, why did you let me marry that awful abuser, or let me get into an accident, or let my wife cheat on me? I’ve certainly caught myself thinking that way. My first husband (who was very violent and abusive) didn’t want our daughter to be born, so he threatened her the entire pregnancy and first year of her life – I spent close to two years daily terrified I would lose her.
Once I was safe – different country, separated, new husband, child older – I still fretted. And worse, I fretted about the other three children just as much, even though their father adores them and protects them as fervently as I do.
I’m realizing it’s several things.
One, you get into the habit of anxiety just the way you can get into the habit of waking up early, or of eating too much dessert. I certainly am challenged as I work to “kick the habit”.
Secondly, we conveniently forget sometimes – God will chose, sometimes, to swoop in and carry out a miraculous rescue because He certainly can do that. But sometimes – as much as I’m sure it pains him – he lets us live out the consequences of a bad decision. If I had listened to God when choosing my first spouse, chances are I wouldn’t have had the trauma that I did.
Of course, bad things can happen to very good obedient Christians just as they do to other people. But the challenge is to know that is true, but still choose to trust that God does have a plan, and that His plan is good. How many times have my children done crazy stunts and emerged without a scratch? How many trips to visit her father has my oldest made and returned safely?
I am learning that one way to treat the anxiety habit that I have is to count the blessings – all the times that I know favor has been shown to me or my family.