“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
All of us struggle sometimes believing in God’s love for us. We might think God is mad at us, or disappointed at our failures and shortcomings. Or he just doesn’t care for us at all, has forgotten us or treats us as his stepchildren: others seem to be preferred over us and living the dream, while we are facing all that life throws at us alone.
But in Jeremiah 29:11 God assures us that his plans for us are of Shalom (which means peace and wholeness). He does not make plans for our misfortune, but to give us a future and a hope. A hope is something we expect to happen, something we can hold on to, look forward to, even if our Now looks very different.
It looks like it’s over!
God spoke these words in Jeremiah 29:11 to the elders of Judah, who had been taken away in captivity to Babylon. The captivity was a consequence of the nation’s disobedience to God and the idolatry of their generation and the preceding ones.
The situation they now found themselves in gave the impression their end had come: the northern kingdom of Israel had already been conquered and exiled by the Assyrian empire. Now the elite of Judah was being taken away also – this must have seemed like the end of the Jewish people!
When the odds are against you…
Their children would grow up as foreigners, slaves in a hostile environment, without the prospect of ever returning home or even being a free nation once more. It is difficult to have faith, when all hope is lost.
Yet right in this situation God encourages them not to lose hope. He promises an end to their exile and a return to the Promised Land. He reassures them of his good plans.
God’s plans are bigger than any circumstance or political development, and it was thanks to his plans and promise that Judah returned to Jerusalem seventy years later.
Remember that God’s promise was made to an unfaithful people, not to the righteous remnant, but to those whose sin was so grave that it provoked a judgement so severe that even Jerusalem and God’s own temple would be destroyed.
…but God isn’t finished with you yet!
God also has plans for your life, even though it may not seem that way now.
Maybe the situation you’re in is hopeless, you don’t see a way out – maybe you don’t believe there even is a way out!
The life you live is not as you would like it to be, it might be frustrating, a nightmare or even “hell on earth”.
If where you are is because of your wrong choices, even your own sin – choose to forgive yourself!
Hold on to this verse, and believe that God is good and has good plans for you.
He does not want you to stay where you are, but he wants to bring you to a good place, into a good and wholesome future.
If he had good and prosperous plans for a nation that had for so long been unfaithful, how much more will he have good and prosperous plans for you?
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