A Plan for Hope

By Gary Piper of Fort Gratiot, Michigan, USA

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. …For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.  Jeremiah 29:7, 11

Since retiring from my 42-year employment in 2009, the plans and dreams my wife and I shared have been on hold because of circumstances beyond our control. Since then I have struggled with occasional periods of mild depression. Even so, I have not changed what matters most to me, but I have gone deeper into my relationship with Christ.

After thinking deeply on the underlying cause of my depression, I found it comes when my own feelings of self-worth are at their lowest. Recently I revisited what matters most to me, not to change my answer, but to examine what my relationship with Christ means and on what it is based.

One of my first thoughts centered on how much I must matter to Jesus Christ because of his life and ministry. And if I matter to him, then for me to honor that relationship I must matter to me as well.

I feel that to honor God’s gift of life I ought to honor the lives of others also.

Their welfare is important in the eyes of God and me.

Prayer for Peace:

God of hope, we honor the future you hope for us by being aware of our calling. May we attend to the welfare of those to whom you send us. May our lives be sanctuaries of your peace for them and the world.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Honoring the Worth of All Persons

Each day this week read Psalm 139:13–18. After each reading sit quietly and let the deep meaning of the words sink into your mind, heart, and body. Imagine God watching you grow in your mother’s womb. What thoughts and feelings do you have about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a)? Sense the intimate knowledge God has of you and every child ever born.

Ask God for an awareness of the sacred worth of each person on the planet. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How are you being invited to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will pray and act on what matters most in the cities and the world around me.

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