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“On the other side of heartache, hope awaits, all because Jesus loves us enough to have died for us.”

God’s Plan for You

By Alexis Goring

Sara Anne Frankl has an illness called ankylosing spondylitis (AS). She has this to say about it on her blog: “It’s an autoimmune disease that usually starts in your early twenties and begins by attacking your joints. It is progressive and systemic. . . . Once the diagnosis of AS was put on the table, everything about my body started making sense, and things that I didn’t know went together turned out to be symptoms of the disease. The pain, the digestion problems, the night sweats, the bouts with iritis. Ahh, the good old days. Things have gotten more complicated since then with breathing issues, swelling of joints, and more areas of my body being affected . . . and the exhaustion. I also have leukopenia, which basically means my white counts remain lower than normal, and actually decrease when I’m sick instead of increasing. This means I have to be ridiculously careful about being around someone with the sniffles for fear of getting pneumonia, which has become somewhat of an expected yearly ritual for me.”1
 
Sara has a decorative cross hanging on one of her living room walls. The cross is inscribed with these words from Jeremiah 29:11, “ ‘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’ ” (NIV). About this verse, Sara writes, “There are times I can read this with my eyes, and I wonder where my prosperity is. Where is my job, my career, my purpose? I can wonder how His plan is not to harm me. My body is broken, my abilities are diminished, my physical self is kept captive in my home. But then I read the first line again. He knows the plans He has for me. Not the plans I have for me. Not the plans I wished for myself. His plans. For me. He has plans . . . it’s up to me to trust that. It always boils down to trust . . . Through God’s eyes, I am not harmed. I do have a body that constantly attacks me, but my spirit is more than strong. It is safe and content and securely at peace. I have been prospered and protected. That in and of itself gives me hope and a future. And all of that is possible because I choose to trust His plan.”2
 
From Sara, I have learned that God loves us and has good plans for our lives; but He doesn’t promise that life will always be sunshine and roses. There will be days, months, perhaps even years, when we’ll all wonder why God is allowing us to experience a certain set of circumstances. However, it’s during such times that we should remember the sacrifice of His Son. Jesus is one with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Yet He accepted far more serious mental, physical, and spiritual hits throughout His time on earth than we will ever have to endure. Yes, “God had good plans for His Son—but they still included a cross.”3 This inspires me to view my own trials more positively.
 
It’s never easy to thank God for trials; but remember, He has a higher purpose for everything that happens to us. His plans go beyond our lives on this planet. “It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Indeed, on the other side of heartache, hope awaits, all because Jesus loves us enough to have died for us.
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1. Chronic Illness, http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/2008/06/just-part-of-whole.html, accessed March 15, 2011.
2. HDG: His Plans, http://gitzengirl.blogspot.com/2009/05/his-plans.html, accessed March 15, 2011.
3. Holley Gerth, DaySpring Christian Greeting Cards.