For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
There is a shop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which sells hot sauces.
Now, when this shop, which is known as the Pepper Palace, sells hot sauces, they mean hot sauces. One of their premier palate burners is a variety they have named FLASHBANG. Composed of a blend of Carolina reaper, scorpion, ghost, and habanero peppers, FLASHBANG is downright destructive to the taste buds.
The stuff is so dangerous the owners of the Pepper Palace make people sign a waiver if they want to sample the premier concoction. Illinois resident, Randy Schmitz, signed the paper and tasted.
Almost immediately, Schmitz was on the ground and having a convulsion.
He was taken to the hospital, a scan was run, and the results showed he was in the early stages of a malignant brain tumor. Back home in Illinois, Schmitz underwent surgery, had chemotherapy, and finished up his treatment right before he got married.
Schmitz believes tasting the sauce triggered the seizure, which ended up saving his life. Indeed, he even sent a letter to the Pepper Palace to thank them and apologize for his mother who, when the event was taking place, had screamed the store's sauce was "killing her son."
Most of us, looking back on our lives, can remember a time when we were in Schmitz's shoes.
By that I don't mean we have tasted a host of hot sauces; nor do I think all of us have had brain tumors. On the other hand, most of us have found ourselves in situations where we might think the Lord has it in for us. You remember, you were enjoying the good life and then Bam! something unexpected happened, and your whole world was turned topsy-turvy.
At such a time it was easy to blame God and question His intentions for your life.
If that has ever been the case for you, then I encourage you to pay attention to what the Lord tells us through His prophet Jeremiah. He says, "I know the plans I have for you." No matter what you may think, they are plans for your welfare and not your destruction. The things I do are not to bring evil into your life. On the contrary, it is My desire to give you a blessed future and hope for today, tomorrow and eternity.
If anyone has any doubt about the sincerity of God's statement, all he needs to do is look to Bethlehem's manger, Calvary's cross, and Jerusalem's empty tomb. In these places they will see the love and grace of God that came to us in the Person of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Having seen all that God has done for us through the Redeemer's many sacrifices, we ought to be assured that He will always do for us that which is right and good.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive those times when I have questioned Your care and compassion. Let me see the Savior and believe that You, my loving Father, will take care of me in every situation and circumstance. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries