One of the biggest questions people ask is whether God has a plan for their life. We may believe that God has a plan for humanity, but it is sometimes difficult to believe that God has a plan for every individual.
How Do You Know God Has a Plan for You?
I know many Christians like to quote Jeremiah 29:11 when they think about the plans God has for their lives. And while that is a beautiful sentiment that is repeated in Scripture, the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 was conditional to a particular place, people, and time. Does that mean that God doesn’t have any plans for you? No, it doesn’t.
Let’s go to the beginning of time. Genesis 1 and 2 detail the story of creation. As you read through the story, you will see that God created each thing in sequence. Light, water, vegetation, animals, human life. This is an oversimplified summary so I urge you to take some time reviewing the story in its entirety.
After God created Adam, one of the first things he did was give him a purpose. Adam’s job was to tend the Garden of Eden.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:15 NKJV).
Now, this may not seem like a big deal because in a perfect world, what amount of work could Adam possibly have had to do? I mean, there were no weeds to root out, the dew moistened the earth automatically and everything had already been planted by God. But I believe this provides some insight into God’s plan for us.
Even when mankind was perfect, God wanted them to have a sense of purpose. He did not want to encourage idleness and provided a way to not only occupy man’s time but also to expose him to the awesome character of who God is. Just think about it–we can learn so many things about God by observing nature. Adam and Eve would have been in the perfect training ground to learn more about the attributes of God.
God had a plan for Adam and Eve and He has a plan for you. He wants you, first and foremost, to come into a saving relationship with Him. He wants you to know, understand, and experience His love.
What does the Bible say about God having a plan for us?
There are a number of verses in the Bible that allude to the plans God has for humanity. Some speak generally about the plan He has for the entire human race, some details His plans for a particular nation, while others are related to a particular person. The important thing to remember when reading the Bible is that the entire book tells the story of a God who thought about us and is actively working things out on our behalf.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Proverbs 19:21 ESV).
The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations (Psalm 33:11 ESV).
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).
Does God have a plan?
God has several plans but it all ties back to the grand plan of saving humanity from sin. It’s important for you to realize that because God’s plan won’t always look the way you think it should.
The hardest thing for many of us is not the ability to believe that God has a plan, but rather being to trust in God’s plan. Oh, I know how it is. We read the Bible and we see all the things God has done for His people. We read His promises and know that He has been faithful but still, we doubt.
We doubt His ability to fulfill what He has promised He would do. Many times, it’s not that we don’t believe what God says, but that we doubt His willingness to keep His promises to us. We doubt His ability to make and execute a plan for us. Is that you, sweet friend?
As I write this post, I’m praying for you. I pray that you will come to see that God has a plan for your life. I pray that you will believe not only in God’s perfect will as it relates to you, but that you will come to trust that He will execute it on your behalf.
Trusting God With Your Future
It’s sometimes easy for us to forget that the patriarchs also had moments when their faith wavered and they forgot to trust in God’s plan. If you need a reminder, look at Abraham’s life. Though we know him as father Abraham, he’s the same man who allowed his wife to convince him to take a secondary wife to fulfill God’s promise of a son (Genesis 16).
David is called the man after God’s own heart, yet he was the same man who had an arduous relationship with another man’s wife and plotted to deceive that man. It was David who arranged for Uriah’s death after impregnating his wife so he could cover up what he had done (2 Samuel 11).
The next time you find yourself doubting God’s ability to carry out the plans He has for your life, I encourage you to meditate on these things.
1. Remember Creation.
As I mentioned earlier, the creation of the world perfectly demonstrates God’s ability to plan. Everything was created in order with each item building on the last. God did not create the plants until He had ensured that there was light and water in abundance because He knew living things would need sustenance to survive.
Let’s put it another way. He’s God. He could have created the things in any order He wanted to and supernaturally sustained them until such time as the systems were in place, but He didn’t. The God who spent so much energy and effort on creation spent the same amount of time and effort on you.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26 ESV).
2. He calls Himself “Father”.
One of the images God uses to express His connection to humanity is that of a loving parent. Repeatedly through Scripture, God reminds us of His heart for us.
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him (Psalm 103:13 ESV). If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11 ESV ) My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:11-12 ESV).
3. God has invested in your future
No other person has invested as much in your future as God has. He created you, sustains you, guides, directs, and loves you. He and His Son made the greatest sacrifice anyone could make on your behalf. When you start to doubt that He has your best interest in mind, remember that He already gave up everything for you and is still pursuing you.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8 ESV). And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 ESV).
I was reminded of these three things as I read To Steal A Heart by Jen Turano. The characters struggled to believe God had plans for them because the circumstances of their lives were hard. It was not until they had gotten to a place where they were able to look back at their struggles that they could see the plan God had been working to fulfill all along.
My Review of To Steal A Heart
Gabriella is in the middle of breaking into a safe when she is reunited with her childhood friend Nicholas who wants to break into the same safe. I know, it’s a hilarious premise and the fun continues from there.
The characters get into so many scrapes –many of which had me laughing out loud–it was not hard to fall in love with them.
Know God–the faith element was faint in this book but there was a reminder that God does not abandon us. The things we sometimes believe will break us, instead, strengthen us and God remains present throughout. God has a plan for our lives and the circumstances we find ourselves in can’t derail them.
Know yourself–there were a lot of characters with secrets which begs an answer to the question if you don’t know who your parents are do you truly know who you are? The answer is yes. It has a lot to do with character. What boundaries are you willing to cross and to which ones will you hold firm?
As Christians, this is even more true for us. Regardless of our heritage or our parentage, we have a Heavenly Father who calls us to live with integrity and love.
Run your race–each of the characters in this book had to choose a path. Some had similar experiences but different ends because they chose to respond to their circumstances in a different way. Like the characters in To Steal A Heart, we each have to decide what we will make of our circumstances.
The Characters in To Steal A Heart
Ms. Turano has created a whole host of quirky and fun characters. Gabriella is her typical strong-willed unconventional heroine with a vulnerability that will make you want to be her friend. Nicholas was a strong, sometimes domineering character who was willing to consider the error of his ways once it was revealed to him by the heroine.
The side characters and pets make for interesting reading. I especially liked Daphne-she was such a hilarious read. I also look forward to reading Eugene’s story. She seems like she has some interesting secrets.
The Themes in To Steal A Heart
The most prominent theme in To Steal A Heart is the reminder that God never leaves us alone. Gabriella was convinced that God had abandoned her but when everything was revealed in the end she realized He had not left her alone.
Another theme evident was that God can use all things for good…even the things we wish had never happened. Like us, Gabriella had to learn that God has a plan though it may not look the way we expect it to.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley; a positive review was not required. Get your copy of To Steal A Heart.
About To Steal a Heart (The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency Book #1)
After a childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. In the middle of breaking into a safe that holds the proof to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella is interrupted by Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.
After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agreed to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.
As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.
About Jen Turano
Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal.
She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.
She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.
Jen Turano Talks About To Steal A Heart
Q: “To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?
A: Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy.
What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor?
That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse.
That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her.
The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella.
Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.
Q: Are there other interesting characters in this series?
A: Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021.
Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on.
The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people.
There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.
Q: Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”
A: Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions.
It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea.
Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside.
Of course, the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100-degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.
Wishing all of you the very best!
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