Dinosaur Jr, Plans, and Jeremiah 29:11-14

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.  
When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you.  
When you look for me, you will find me.  
Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord, and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you, says the Lord, and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.  -Jeremiah 29:11-14

Jeremiah

This is a passage that I prayed using Lectio Divina together with my family.  This was during the second week of lent.  During meditatio, we started talking about the pattern that is in the verses of action and response.  “When you call me”, “when you look for me”, “when you seek me”.  “I will listen”, “you will find”, “you will find me with you”.  God has a plan for us, a great plan, but He wants us to actively participate, to cooperate with Him.  When we do, He will see our willingness and He will change us for the better.

Doing this exercise reminded me of an experience that I had at the beginning of Lent. One of my favorite bands is Dinosaur Jr.

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I love a lot of their music, not every song, but most of it.  On Monday before Ash Wednesday, I had a Dinosaur Jr song stuck in my head.  I often listen to their albums while working or driving and I’m not necessarily giving it my full attention.  On that Monday, I had the music of one of their songs playing in my head.  It kept playing through the day but I couldn’t remember the name of the song or the album.  After a while I had to find the song so I listened to several until I found it.  It was the song Plans on the album Farm.  I found the song on YouTube and played it a couple of times and I was happy with that.

But it still persisted.  Eventually I had to look up the lyrics.  I had never listened to the lyrics before but was stunned.  Here are the lyrics:

Well I followed you at times
Things that touched me slipped my mind
If you help me then I’ll try
Then I’ll believe it

I need time, could you explain
I’ve been caught up in my pain
And it’s really not the same
You can see it

I got nothing left to be, do you have some plans for me
I got nothing left to be, do you have some plans for me

I can’t filter what I’ve lost, see my face and see the cost
All the good that just got tossed, and I keep kneeling
And I don’t know what to bring, I get pissed at everything
I need you to see me sing, keep me believing

I got nothing left to be, do you have some plans for me
I got nothing left to be, do you have some plans for me

I know you do, I know you do, I know you do-oo-oo Lord
I know you do, I know you do, I know you do-oo-oo Lord
I know you do-oo-oo Lord

Now I know you came
Now I know you know my name
Don’t let me be the same

Well I’ve followed you for years
I’ve got pains and I got fears
Then there’s moments when it clears
And I’ve been waiting

I got nothing left to be, do you have some plans for me
I got nothing left to be, do you have some plans for me

I know you do, I know you do, I know you do-oo-oo Lord
I know you do, I know you do, I know you do-oo-oo Lord
I know you do-oo-oo Lord
(For me, for me)
(For me, for me)

A great friend of mine, Jennifer, has a gift for drawing deep meanings from songs that are not always obvious.  It’s as if she can see what might be going on within the artists’ souls and how that becomes part of their music.  I borrowed a page from her book and tried to apply this idea to this song.  When I read the lyrics, I immediately associated the song with Lent. 

I related to the first verse of this song because my faithfulness has high and low points.  At times I have forgotten the high points.  When God reminds me of the times that I followed closely, it helps my belief.  In the second verse, describes my life lately.  There have been some events that I have struggled to understand.  The third verse expresses the toll that these events have taken and the frustration in getting through them.  Yet I rely on my relationship with God and I need Him to give me the hope and faith to persevere.  The fourth verse is also a pretty accurate representation of how I often feel.  I’m in about the middle of my life.  I have been trying to follow God through my life.  I struggle every day with this.  But once in a while God grants me a grace that shows me how the pieces of my life fit together and this gives me some satisfaction, the kind I wish I had all the time.  Through the song the question of what God’s plans for me are repeats.  I often wonder where God is taking me and how the story of my life will read when it is finished.  I have faith that He does have some plan, despite the frustration of not knowing what it is. 

There is one more element to the song that I want to cover.  It is the line, “don’t let me be the same”.  To explain the significance of the line I have to tell the story of Lent last year.  I was encouraged by my friend, Andrew, to pray for something specific instead of always being general.  So I had this idea to help strengthen my faith.  There is a tradition of giving up something for lent.  I decided to give up my most frequently confessed sin.  It was something that I know I was powerless against.  I knew if I could give it up, it would have to be God who took this from me because of my lack of control despite all my efforts.  I won’t describe what it is here but I will say that there was almost instant improvement in avoiding this sin.  By the end of the season of Lent, I would say that I saw an almost complete improvement.  This sin was taken away from me.  God didn’t leave me the same.  He changed me.

Back to this Lent.  When I discovered these song verses and reflected upon them.  I shared them with a couple of friends, including Jennifer.  My friend, Shelly, suggested that maybe the song was meant to be a sign to me.  I said that I felt that it was and that God was going to change me again this Lent.  Just coming to this realization stirred deep feelings inside me.  I have an idea of how God is going to change me now but at the time I didn’t.  

So, back to Jeremiah 29:11-14.  This passage tells us that God has plans for me.  Plans for welfare and hope, if I persist and seek Him out.  If I do this, God will change me, He won’t let me be the same.  Same message delivered in two different ways, first through one of my favorite bands, Dinosaur Jr. and then through our family Lectio Divina.  This promises to be an interesting Lent.

Strengthening and Healing Souls Through Jesus the Healer

I have been spending lots of time working hard with some great friends to put together an opportunity for people in the Diocese of Springfield Cape Girardeau. Jesus has put it on our hearts to offer a healing conference in Springfield, Mo. from Nov 21-23.  There are so many stories behind the scenes but I can say that it has been a growing experience for all of us involved.  Please consider coming to this conference if you are in the area.  And please pray for us that we may please Jesus with our work.

Please click on the image below to register for this event.

2014 Strengthening and Healing Souls through Jesus the Healer

2014 Strengthening and Healing Souls through Jesus the Healer

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