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.
Over the years in my counseling practice, I have had a number of clients who’ve become stuck at a crossroads where they have to decide the best path to take. Most of the time, they have multiple choices in front of them that appear to be equally beneficial. For instance, it might be two or three job offers, all of which seem very promising. However, as they think about these various opportunities, they get stuck and labor over what is right for them—sometimes to the point of anguish. What should be a time of joy and hope turns into a period of despair. Worry sets in and often causes them to overthink things, which freezes them in their tracks.
My task then becomes to loosen up the decision-making process and move them away from an either/or analysis to finding joy in their circumstances. Joy because they have two or more good choices, which they didn’t have in the past. Maybe one choice appears to be slightly better one moment; then the other choice seems to be better. Regardless, any path they choose is a good path, especially if, as in the example above, they are out of work and need a job. So, instead of looking at the decision-making process as a burden, I try to reframe their viewpoint to see it as a period of joy.
To help unlock their minds, prayer is always helpful but does not always provide an answer to which is the best option. Perhaps God has given them two or three options to choose from—all being a perfect path to take. Pointing this out helps relieve the burden of which is the best choice. Many times, God will give us multiple options, and it doesn’t mean one is necessarily better. If the choices are honorable and fit in with Christian life, they are all good choices.
God does have plans for all of us. In Jeremiah [29:11], God’s voice says, 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. Reading this verse reveals what God wants to do for us all—to give us a future filled with hope.
These plans for a future with hope may not begin with just a single path, but many. The only requirement is to have faith that God is listening. When we are given these plans, they are not meant to confuse or create despair. Rather, we should be thankful and think about which choice gives us the most joy.
When we go to restaurants, we are given a menu. When we go to clothing stores, we are given a choice of styles and colors. If we go to college, we must choose our classes. I fully believe God gives us the freedom to choose in the same way.
I often see these many options appear for these people after they pray. Maybe not the same day, but they do begin to appear. After being without opportunities and choices, they will receive many choices over the next few weeks.
As they enter a period of prayer to petition God for a job or a new life circumstance—I silently know that prayers said with faith will be answered, and not necessarily with just one answer.
God is benevolent. God cares for his people. So why wouldn’t God give us choices? It is human nature to fret and worry and wonder if we are making the right choice. Perhaps some options are better than others, but are all God-given. In that, we should rejoice.
When God says he plans for all of us to have a future with hope, God makes a sacred promise to help us and not harm us. In turn, we should have faith in God and be joyful in the knowledge that God is very present in our lives!
So today, say a prayer of petition, and rest assured that you will be saying a prayer of gratitude in the near future.