God is changing lives at Immanuel because of your generous partnership with Accelerate! Thank you! Every Friday, we’re taking a peek at how God is working in the lives of our high school students. These servants of Jesus are walking daily by faith as they navigate the hallways and relationships inside their school walls and beyond. Our weekly series will highlight what God is up to in their lives in their voices. Leave them some encouragement by commenting?
by Alexus Jones
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11
I have a hard time with this verse. There are days when I’m reminded of these words, but excitement for God’s glorious plans is not the emotion that meets me. Rather, I’m greeted with the dark and cynical thoughts of anger and discouragement. I can’t help but wonder if I’m honestly supposed to accept that tragedy, heartache, tears and wasted time are all included in what the Lord considers “good” plans. Is that the kind of future that I’m supposed to have hope for in this life? Yeah, I get that life in heaven will be great and all, but what am I to do in times of darkness and distress? Sometimes I just get tired of being told that God works on His own time. I get tired of being told that my human understanding couldn’t possibly comprehend the ways of the Almighty. I get tired of being told that all of this is only temporary. It may be temporary, but more heartache seems to lurk just around the next corner.
I understand what this verse is saying. I really do. I know that God has an ultimate good in mind, and I appreciate that. God and I had always been on the same page. He would do something, and over time I could see how it played out. Usually, it played out how I expected. I could look back and say, “I’m glad that (Insert event here) happened, because it resulted in (Insert good event here).” However, within the past year, seeing the ultimate good in the pain has been an incredibly difficult—sometimes impossible—task.
In my times of depression and frustration, I often tell myself to cling to God, but what does that mean? How do I cling to God? Does that mean reading my Bible more? Does that mean praying more? How do I cling to something that isn’t even recognized as existent to a large fraction of the world?
When I write posts for this blog, I tend to at least attempt to throw in some sort of lesson or encouragement, but today I can only ask you to take heart in knowing that your struggles with Christianity are not unshared. Do not be afraid to allow others in on your insecurities and flaws. We only truly fall when we don’t have support—or refuse to use the support that we have. The people in your life have been placed there for a reason! We can no longer allow each other to hide our struggles. How can we truly love each other as we’re called if we cannot take off our masks of “I’m fine”? While God and His Word are the ultimate support system, the Church has also been called to be a light in the darkness. Let yourself see that light! And if you don’t need the light, be that light to others.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Alexus Jones is a junior at Lakes Community High School. She plays in the high school youth group worship band and works backstage on Sunday mornings at Immanuel Church. She is a singer/songwriter who desires to glorify God with the abilities that He’s entrusted to her.