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 NIV
This is a verse that I have repeatedly heard used as a life verse. Many people hold on to this promise that God made to Israel, applying it to their own lives. And, while I do not disagree with that application, I suspect many have a too narrow a view of the passage.
I do not believe that you can use this as a promise that your life is going to be all chocolates and roses. Even the context of this passage would argue against that thought. This assurance from God is given to people who are going into exile. Who will be living in a foreign land for 70 years before being allowed to return home. Their lives would be far from rosy.
God’s Plans for His People
In this verse, God says that he had plans for his people. And those plans were for their good. But note that the plans God had for his people are to give them hope and a future. God’s plans for his people did not change their current situation. They were going to endure 70 years of exile, followed by the challenging return and rebuilding of their homeland. But, through it all, they could look forward in hope to the future that God had for them.
And so it is with us today. We can look at this verse and know that God has plans for us. And, even today, he is working out his purpose for us. But God’s plan for his people today, even as it was for Israel 2600 years ago, is focused on our future. God has prepared something for us that is much greater than anything we will experience here.
As believers in our Lord Jesus, we have a hope that transcends this life. Not a wishful hope. But a confident assurance. The hope of eternal life in the presence of our Lord. That is the plan that he has for us.