If you have ever used the term, "You must have read my mind", then you probably had someone show up with just the right thing you needed at that moment, coming through for you without you even having to ask for their assist, etc. Truth be told, they didn't read your mind - they anticipated your needs, did the neighborly thing, or just listened to the voice of God! Man does not read man's thought - God does! Wouldn't it be great if we could read God's mind? To truly figure out this whole mess we call life and know the end from the beginning? Well, according to what he told Jeremiah, we can!
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 AMP)
Thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, not for evil, and to give us hope in our final outcome! Welfare is really our "well-being" - the condition of being and doing well. Peace is something which eludes us at times because we live in the opposite of peace, being affected by our circumstances so much our emotions are in a frenzy most of the time! God's plans are for us to know AND live in peace - not frenzy, worry, or fear. God doesn't plan or have thoughts of evil for our lives - but of good. He doesn't want us to lose hope, though the journey will be long and the road ahead pocked with potential pitfalls. His plans and his thoughts are for our good!
So how is it we don't understand the mind of God? He puts it quite plainly in this passage. It might just be because we don't finish the passage! The rest of the passage gives us hints on how it is we learn to tap into the thoughts and plans of God for our lives:
* We have to ask. He says we need to "call upon him". Too many times, we get in the midst of our mess and we forget who holds the mess in the palm of his hands! We don't ask, so we don't receive the understanding we need. James reminds us, "If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves." (James 1:5-6 MSG) If we don't know, we are to ask. We only get to know another's thoughts when we take time to explore them. Isn't it silly how much time we actually take "worrying" our way through life and the answer is really right at our fingertips?
* We have to seek. If you really take this in context, you will see there is a sense of urgency or earnest which is described in this passage. We are to require God as a vital necessity for life itself. It is a seeking which is directed from the heart. Since the heart is made up of our emotions, this is suggestive of some form of passionate and intense seeking. Earnest is an intense and serious state of mind, with a sense of importance planed on that which is sought after. In other words, we place an "importance" on finding what it is we seek. When we do so, there is a drive from within which is deeply felt. It is not casual, or cursory. When we get serious about finding God's plan, we realize seeking takes some effort on our part. If you have ever sat down to truly get to know another you have an interest in, you know only a fraction of the "investment" it takes to develop that relationship. God asks nothing less of us - in fact, he asks more. Seeking involves not only our minds, but our hearts. In turn, it involves our obedience.
What is the outcome of this asking and seeking? I think it is found later in the 29th chapter, verse 27, when Jeremiah hears from God, "Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?" We learn God has it all in his hands. Nothing is out of his control or exceeds his abilities / capabilities. What escapes our minds-eye never escapes his. What befuddles our thinking is clear as crystal to him. If we want to know God's thoughts and his plans for our lives, we need to follow the pattern he lays out for actually finding them. Just sayin!