“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not your woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
The first time I read this verse I was several hours into a job interview that would change my life. I flew from Ohio to Texas to meet with a group of gentlemen from a large company. The “interview” took all day and moved me in and out of several different offices and even through a couple of restaurants.
At one point, I sat across from the manager who wanted to hire me. He was telling me what a nice addition to his team I would make. Something caught my eye; I looked over and saw the quote hanging on a cubicle wall. I chose to take it as a sign – a confirmation – and said yes to his offer. Saying yes, however, meant packing up my family and moving across country, away from the only comfort zone I ever knew.
And you know what? Every detail of the relocation fell right into place. Our tiny “starter” home sold in just two weeks, in the middle of winter! The transplant of our lives was not without challenge, but in hindsight flowed with God’s choreography.
We all have our own plans: business plans, wedding plans, vacation plans, five-year plans, ten-year plans, retirement plans, etc. However, none of those plans will ever be as “meaningful” as God’s plans are for us. We are made on purpose – our place in time is no accident.
Time has often reminded me that believing in this scripture verse was not just sound business advice, but a huge blessing to me and my family. The blessing was not just the career move, but the relocation as well. And the man who hired me became a great mentor to me and a true friend.
So how do we know what the plan is for us? How do we figure out if any of our plans are THE plans? That is our common challenge. That is where our common faith, as Catholic professionals, comes in.
In my life and career, the only tool I found to decode the mystery is prayer. ASK Him. God will let us know the answers in His time. And yes, unfortunately I am admitting and advocating the requirement and practice of patience, along with our prayers. Waiting on answers to prayer can be maddening, especially to those of us that live in a hectic, drive-through culture. We value speed. We demand instant gratification (is there any other kind?). We forget that, even though Jesus taught that if we ask we will receive, He never said we would receive right away.
And yet, there isn’t a single one of us that would not benefit from more prayer. From Pope Francis all the way down to me. Prayer is the glue that holds our first and most primary relationship together. So if we remain patient and open-minded, He will alert us when the time comes.
Who knows, He may even post a sign on the wall.