Calamity does not have to define us. And it certainly does not define what God is doing. God has a plan. And that plan is for our best. For our future. Our hope.
This famous “tee shirt” verse comes right after God tells Israel He is bringing a calamitous judgment upon them. He has removed his hand of protection due to their disobedience. The proper application of this verse is in connection with calamity. Even when we bring calamity upon ourselves, God’s plan is to turn that into prosperity.
One of the primary ways calamity can benefit us is to cause us to seek God. In the valleys all illusions of self-reliance are stripped away. It is in the valleys we know definitively that we need help. So we call upon the Lord.
The Lord’s interest is not so much for us to escape adverse circumstances. It is for us to find Him. That is the source of our greatest riches. And we find Jesus when that is what we seek. We find him when we search for him with all our heart.
Thankfully we do not have to await catastrophe to seek and find the Lord. He is always available. The Hebrew word translated “search” means to pursue, or to inquire of. The idea is to make a focus, a priority. To search for God is to make it a front-burner item, a focal point, a necessity.
Our greatest riches, best outcomes, and true welfare comes about when we make a top priority to see God in all we do. To conform our perspectives to what is true. To seek his ways rather than the path urged by fleshly desires. When we search we find, and what we find is the greatest possible prosperity; intimacy with Jesus.
“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’”
– Jeremiah 29:11-14