“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). In this passage, Jeremiah is writing a letter from Jerusalem to the elders who were in captivity in Babylon. He was reminding them that, despite their current circumstances, the Lord says that they have hope and a future. He was also encouraging them to thrive in the present circumstances despite their adversity. In other words, there was work to be done in the present even though the Lord had promised to change their situation in the future.
So many times we too can look at our current situations and become discouraged because it may not be our desired destination. However, in our present situation, there is work to be done and in our adverse situations, the Lord may be preparing us for what He ultimately has for us. If we look at the text, the Lord says that His plans are “to give a future and a hope,” meaning what He has for us has yet to come to fruition. An example of this perspective can be seen in the life of David. While he was anointed to be king around the age of 17 years old, he did not become king until after he was 30. What does this mean in view of Jeremiah 29:11? While God’s plan was to make him king, David was probably not ready to be king at the time of his anointing. In the same way, many times we are not ready in the present to operate and prosper in what the Lord will ultimately call us to do. Instead, we enter into a process of growth and maturity toward that calling.
Additionally, even though our current situations may be challenging, we must remember that the Lord’s plans for us are “for good and not for disaster.” Romans 8:28 (NLT) reads, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” So, through our trials, we are being perfected for the plans God has for us.
In Jeremiah 29, not only did God tell the elders through the prophet Jeremiah that He had good plans for them, but He also gave them an idea of what to look for when it was time for His plans to come to pass. “For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors and they will possess it again. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 30:3 NLT) In other words, when the Lord speaks to our situation, He will determine when He wants us to possess the plans He has for us. In the meantime, we need to grab on to His promises and His purpose for us and be faithful where we are right now. It may not be the place of our ultimate calling. However, if we embrace the fact that where we are right now is part of a growth process toward His calling, we can remain faithful, knowing that in Christ we have “a hope and a future!”
Rev. Bryan Crawl
Director of Ministry