Hope for the Future

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).
This is one of the most popular verses shared when people are going through trouble, but the context is often forgotten. The original recipients of this verse were the initial wave of exiles (people who had been taken into captivity) who were residing in Babylon. They were hoping for deliverance from their current situation immediately, but God had other plans.
For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are complete for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. (Jer. 29:10)
Many of the people who first heard this verse would have died before it came to pass. God's plans are not individual but collective, and they are not necessarily fulfilled in our life time. We need faith to help us comprehend that whatever we are going through is for the best even if we don't understand it.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jer. 29:7).
Our future and hope is not found in immediate deliverance from our trial, but in perseverance through our trial. These exiles were commanded to seek the welfare of their captors, and to not look for liberation. This was God's plan to give them a future and a hope.

It is ironic that Jeremiah 29:11 is often given out in the same way that false prophets would have done; with the expectation of prompt rescue. However, God says do not listen to that person because He did not send them (Jer. 29:8). Instead, this verse is pointing to the heavenly reality that God is in control and that Jesus is our deliverer, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Not even death can stop the plans that God has for His people. 


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