I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will be present for you, declares the Lord, and I will end your captivity.
Have you ever played a game where you asked for a do-over? Maybe you weren’t quite ready and asked to start over. Maybe the game barely got started, and you were already “out”. Or, maybe you and your friends decided to start the entire game over just cause it would be more fun now that everyone knew the rules.
I remember teaching my girls to hit a baseball. I would give them multiple chances to hit the ball. Little sister would get extra help and not have to follow the same rules as big sister, because she needed more “do-overs”; she wasn’t as mature or as strong. Most of the time, I tried to be a patient father with my children. And, if I could be so patient with my children, imagine how much more patient God must be with God’s children.
Life is not a “once, and done” affair – we get multiple do-overs; God constantly says, “try again”. Each of us constantly fail in our attempts to be the person God is calling us to be. But, God continually says, “Do not be afraid, you can have a do-over”. And even with the one failure none of us can avoid, death, God says, “Don’t worry, I became human so you could get a do-over from death”.
The passage from Jeremiah reminds us that we get as many do-overs as we need to get it right. The reality is, we will never get it right…that’s why we need God, that’s why there is divine grace. We have to ask God for a do-over, and we have to mean it. When we want to be the person God wants us to be more than anything else, and we ask God to help us, God shows up and says…”watch this, your life is going to be awesome…I can’t wait to show you what I have in store for you.”
So, don’t worry if you haven’t figured out your life yet…you have all the time you need. Not sure of a major, it’s okay…you’ll figure it out. Broken relationship…God says, it’s okay, you will heal. Don’t have a job…no worries…you find something, and then something else, and then something else. I’m 67 and I haven’t figured out how to be the person God intends me to be. But, I do know you have to keep working on it. You have to actively seek God for God to show up. And, you have to ask for a do-over, and really mean it.
I love the fact that life is a continuous series of new beginnings, that everyday is a brand new day where God whispers in our ear “Do Over!”