Ever feel like you’re playing a part you weren’t meant to play. I know I have. I must admit I’ve been confused at times when I’ve read Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
I know the Lord’s plans are good. I believe they are for my good. I have sung that His promises are “yes and amen,” but I think, like many others, I confuse them with other plans. The plans others have for us.
Think about it.
Our parents have plans for us.
Our teachers and professors have plans for us.
Our bosses have plans for us, often to give them a hope and a future.
Credit card companies and car dealerships have plans for us as well.
McDonald’s wants us to supersize. Burger King wants us to King Size.
But have you seen the Burger King in the last several years? He’s creepy.
Do you think he really wants us to have it our way?
But the Lord does know the plans He has for us. They are good. They are for our good and for the good of His kingdom. But I often confuse it with what I do. Solomon felt the same way in Ecclesiastes 2.
I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all of my hard work in this world… Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This too, is meaningless, a great tragedy. So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.
In the world of Shakespeare, MacBeth felt this same way as he spoke to Danforth in Act 5 Scene 5. Upon hearing that his wife had died, MacBeth expounds on his own surprise at his indifference to her departing. He refers to death as if it might be the dreadful ending of a very bad play in which he is forced to act out a part of which he was never meant to be cast.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools, the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow. A poor player, who struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Sometimes I’ve felt like MacBeth. Sometimes I’ve felt like Solomon. I learn and work and try and work some more and then do it again over and over before I stop and belt out “Who am I and what am I doing? Why am I playing a part I was never meant to play?”
I’ve met some people who even wish their play was over so they could rid themselves of their role.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The Lord really does have the perfect role for you.
It may be hard. In fact, it will be. Everything worth doing is hard in one way or another.
But in Him, there is fulfillment.
Seek the Lord. Learn His will for your life. Don’t play a role you were never meant to play. Don’t end up playing the lead role in a very bad and terribly long play designed to end tragically.
Henry David Thoreau is credited with saying, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation, and die with their song still inside them.”
Don’t let that happen to you.
Sing your song.
Let your music out.
Live out the plans God has for you.
And never, never, never quit.
*Special thanks to Alberto Bigoni and Unsplash for the picture above.