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. Jer 29:11
We live in exciting, but tumultuous days, as did Jeremiah. How good it is to know God has a plan for us, and He desires to reveal Himself to us in greater measure. I see my life as a training ground, my hope is based in Him and the knowledge that I am being prepared for an eternal future with Him. However, the Lord often speaks to me through earthly things.
Eighteen months ago my daughter gave me an adult colouring book and pens for my birthday. Within weeks newspapers were reporting that this was the latest trend started by Johanna Basford whose sketching attracted a friend to ask if she’d do copies for her to colour. Since the first “An Inky Adventure and Colouring Book” was published there have been two further beautifully soft bound books released making her probably thousands, if not millions, of pounds. It has been said that such a pastime will relax the body and mind and help break off anxiety and stress. This Christmas there were dozens of adult colouring books in huge piles for sale.
Hebrews 4:10 “For he that has entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. 11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall according to the same example of unbelief.” The best rest is obviously God's, but so often our lives feel like ‘inky adventures'. We’ve a sketch of His plan, it's our characters and personalities that colour them in, and I suspect we often feel we could have done better! Above is the same sketched pattern completed twenty years ago by my daughter and I. It reminds me that we all start out with God’s pattern for life, and He gives us the freedom to be unique along with the ability to grow in our response to what we see and hear.
To add to that a fortnight ago I came across perhaps the next phase or craze! An adult 'dot to dot' book with several hundred numbers to join before the sketch was formed to colour in! It caused me to consider if we sometimes see our lives so fragmented that there are seemingly hundreds of dots to join before we begin to grasp the bare outline of God’s plan for us. But I remembered the Bible tells us circumstances, difficulties, troubles, produce character and shape our personalities. It is in those times I know I need to press through in the belief that the Lord's desire is to love and bless me. When I put my hand in His I begin to see the intricacies of His sketch as He guides, teaches and shows me how to form and bring colour to my life. It is my hope through that to reflect the richness and beauty of He who lives within me.