Location: Palmerston North, New Zealand
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.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
When I arrived in New Zealand I quickly came to realize that I did not know a sole and that I was becoming extremely lonely even after a few days. This combined with just having a left a summer spent with my best friends working at an Adventist camp soon made me understand that I was becoming slightly depressed. I had no motivation to exercise or find any other sort of activity to entertain myself. I hadn’t ever felt like this before. I was so used to being an optimist, so used to being busy with the fun things life had to offer, that I was taken off guard. I hadn’t ever truly been to a place where I didn’t know anybody. I was living in a building with 30 other people, but I felt detached.
Shortly after arriving I was walking through the dormitory, half looking for some form of activity and half wandering for no good reason. I was mentally living in the past hoping to return to all my friends who I envisioned being at home and spending every waking hour together. I was clinging to an idea that was no longer even a reality. I knew that we had all moved on to new things in the past week anyways, but because I was so far removed, it felt like they were all so close together. Thirty hours of flying is a lot further away than 3 hours of driving.
As I wandered, I noticed a verse scattered through the dormitory, repeatedly hanging on what seemed like every wall. The verse was Jeremiah 29:11. As I read it, gave me the tiniest sliver of hope. I was told later that day that I was to give a worship for the boy’s dorm. I knew that I had my inspiration and ended up giving a short talk on this verse. The worship ended up being more as a pep talk to myself than to the boys, the kind of pep talk you give yourself in a mirror before you do something important. Saying the words out loud just made me feel better.
A screenshot of the verse eventually filled the screen of my phone and I and looked at it constantly throughout every day for several weeks. It gave me hope, kept my sanity, and gave me motivation to get out and exercise, and meet new people. It didn’t take overly long to realize that God did have a plan and that I was here for a good reason.
Looking back on that time, I can see how far I’ve come since then. I made amazing new friends, gained some valuable experience, and changed my perspective. Being led out of my comfort zone was something I needed, it gave me time to think and mull over what I was and am trying to do with my life. Life didn’t lead me where I expected or hoped, it lead me where I needed to be led.
God has a plan for us all, and even though I had many days that were difficult after discovering this verse, I knew that God always knows what He is doing. God’s plan does not come in our own time. We cannot always expect to suffer for a certain period of time and then reap a great reward in the same lifetime. Some Christians suffer for their entire life simply because they believe. Nevertheless, God has a plan for us all; a plan where we all have a happy ending, some of us may experience it in this life, but all will taste and see that the Lord is good in the next eternity.