“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.

We’ve all seen this verse stamped all over graduation cards, written on letters addressed to people suffering from great loss or on the Instagram of some teenage girl going through her first break-up.

The phrase, “God has a plan for you” has become the Christian go-to answer for all situations of heartbreak and uncertainty. It sounds like a sweet sentiment, but I am afraid it is becoming an unhealthy habit.

Merissa Holliday is a transfer student.

Merissa Holliday is a transfer student.

Don’t get me wrong, I completely believe that God has a plan for the world and everything in it and we should be faithful to His plan. But, somehow we have blurred the line between chasing after His plan and just relying on a Bible verse for comfort.

When the people in our lives are struggling through hard times our immediate response is to tell someone that God has a plan for them. As if God wanted their boyfriend to break up with them, their parents to get divorced or their loved one to die. “It will be okay, God has a plan,” we say as we quickly change subjects to something that makes us less uncomfortable instead of realizing that our seemingly friendly advice might actually be doing more harm than good. To do what is truly right and helpful for the people we love, we must work through our fear of the uncomfortable and be willing to actually listen to their needs.

Yes, God has a plan, but that doesn’t mean that the horrible things that happen to you are part of His plan. We live in a broken and imperfect world where bad things happen and heartbreak occurs more often than we think is fair. That’s where God’s grace steps in. He takes those heartbreaks and makes them into something beautiful, our job is to actively seek out the beauty that is to come.

So maybe the next time your friend is going through a dark and lonely phase of life, or you just don’t know which path of life you are supposed to take, you should turn to God instead of simply relying on a Bible verse to help you through this season of life. Because he does have a plan, you just have to be faithful until you find it.