One of the most known passages of scripture in our time is probably Jeremiah 29:11:
“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
This scripture is used to apply in so many ways to so many Christians because it appeals to our most deep-seated need as human beings: hope.
Let’s look closely at this scripture and its intended message.
The Past Holds Us Captive
At the time Jeremiah was given this message to deliver to the Israelites, they were in captivity. They had been taken from all that they knew and moved to Babylon, where they were held as captives. During this time, much of their prayer revolved around redemption—the need for a Messiah to get them back home and restore their wealth and that of their children.
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Our needs aren’t all that different today, as we find ourselves asking God for the ability to survive the captivity of this pandemic—for the hope of its end and the restoration of our lives.
God Sees Our Future
By the time Jeremiah delivered the message of 29:11, the Israelites had not only lost hope, but they had probably accepted their captivity as the end. They may have been resigned to the fate that their children would be raised in Babylon. Therefore, it was no coincidence that God’s message for them contained the words “hope” and “future.”
God says that He knew us before the foundations of the world were laid. He also says that He had called us before He even formed us in our mothers’ wombs. These scriptures point to an all-knowing God. They show us that absolutely nothing catches the maker of the universe by surprise.
God does not look at our present failings or define us as we see ourselves. He saw a future for the Israelites who had long accepted their fate. He saw prosperity for them, even when their present reality was nothing but plunder and poverty.
That is the God we serve: a God who is not blinded by reality yet not immune to hope. His lenses towards us are not rose-colored but love-colored. God sees us as he saw the Israelites—as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, fearfully and wonderfully made.
God says that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are higher than ours. Yet God invites us to a place of personal intimacy and communion with Him.
The Hope that Waits for Us
If we saw things and circumstances as God saw them, we would live better lives. We would not be riddled with worry and anxiety if we saw that all things were working out for our good. We would not fear death because we would see that Christ had overcome death and its sting.
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Today, let’s interpret Jeremiah 29:11 in the context of God’s grand plan. God has promised us wealth and prosperity, but far beyond that, He promises us a future. He promises us hope.
That hope is hidden in Christ. We can find it by seeking a closer intimacy with Him. When we find that, we encounter through Him an escape from the momentary present and an unwavering hope for the future that only God knows.