Today’s verse can apply to many stages of life. Most think of it when they are leaving high school or college or launching into a new career. However, this verse, taken from Jeremiah, can encourage us at many stages of life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Let’s look at Jeremiah’s context for this verse. This is an old passage, all the way back to 597 B.C. The king of Babylon has swept in to overtake Israel and take captive the choice craftsmen, artisans, and the best of the young people including Daniel and his young friends.
It will be a long captivity in this foreign land. Meanwhile, they are to continue to be faithful to God, to remember their need to pray daily and not worship idols, to be strong in their faith in spite of the fact that they will no longer have their Temple and sacrifices, etc.
With that in mind, let’s look again at this much quoted verse.
“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.”
God has many plans to reward the faithfulness of Daniel and his friends as they maintain strong bodies by following their food rules. They are protected from harm whether in the lion’s den or the fiery furnace. They all end up with high places of leadership even in captivity—a hope and a future.
God reminds them that they must continually call upon him in prayer and when they keep this practice, He assures them that,
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
So, when did this become a life verse for me? Interestingly enough, not until I was ready to retire.
I had already retired from teaching and had been working for several years as a music assistant in a church. My husband talked of retiring so I considered retiring as well. I was suffering physically and finally found out that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I loved the kids I worked with in choir and my precious seniors in the Senior Adult Choir, so I struggled with the decision.
I knew of this verse, but I was reintroduced to it in my daily Bible reading. I saw it in a church bulletin later. A radio preacher mentioned it. God often works in my life in these ways.
I nervously sat in church that Sunday morning before reading my resignation letter. I couldn’t believe it when Jeremiah 29:11 popped up on the screen as the morning verse. What an assurance that he approved this decision and had further plans for me. A few years later, my first book was published—a hope and a future!
~ Joyce ~