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).

In high school, I was on an all-county improv team. I had a blast meeting with that group week after week, improvising scenes with little to no idea of where we were going or how the story we were telling would end when all was said and done. There is a humility that comes with improv because the quality of the performance doesn’t depend on the talent, creativity, or initiative of just one person. It doesn’t even depend on the comedic brilliance of a few key players. In fact, a good way to ruin a scene is by trying to steal the show and control the direction of the story. The best improvisers know the power of collaboration, of each player being willing to yield initiative to the others, working together to tell an incredible story that is not “mine” but uniquely “ours.” 

Meditating on Jeremiah 29:11 recently, this familiar verse struck me in a fresh way. It is so obvious I am almost embarrassed to share it with you. But what stood out to me was that the Lord says, “I know the plans that I have for you.” 

We have our own “great and wonderful plan” for our life and the lives of others, don’t we? It is hard to yield the initiative. It feels much more comfortable to try to impose our own wishes and expectations on reality rather than collaborating with the Lord in living the story that He is telling. 

It is incredible that the same Lord who says, “I know the plans I have for you,” also reshapes and reforms His plans based on how we respond to His sovereign action. The God who calls us to collaborate with Him also collaborates with us! He remains sovereign, and yet freely chooses to work with us to achieve His good purposes in our lives and in the world. He wants the story told through our lives not only to be “His” but uniquely “ours” (check out Jeremiah 18.1-12). 

Will we trust the Lord? Can we trust His heart when we don’t understand His purposes? Will we continue to say “yes” to Him even when we can’t see where the story is going or how it will end? This is the question that confronts us on a daily basis. 

To live a creative, interactive life with God in this way requires trust, imagination, and – get this – faith! But the Lord Himself, in the greatest act of creativity and love, has already worked out the solution to all our failures. When He gave up his life on the cross, He removed every obstacle that stands between us and our delightful destiny. Because of His grace, not even we can permanently thwart His good purposes for us! For those who believe in Jesus, no matter how sad some scenes of our lives may be, we are assured that our story ends as a comedy and not a tragedy. 

So don’t lose hope. Let’s trust Him and continue to say “yes” together, even when we can’t see the whole plan. He knows the plan, and He tells us that when all is said and done, it will be good!


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