“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
I have heard this verse used over and over by many people. It is a promise of hope. But I think there is more to it.
Read the verse before this one: Jeremiah 29:10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.
Ouch!! God has plans, He is in everything, and yet the people are told it will 70 years of hardship. So often we look to hardship as a punishment, as God turning His back on us. That is not the case.
God did not abandon them during this time; see verses 12-14
In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
God promises he will be with them, though they are going through difficult times.
We have become so microwave focused we expect everything to happen as we want them to in a snap. Though stew has a more flavorful taste if I allow is to slowly simmer in a crock pot all day, I grab a a pre-packaged bag and throw it in the microwave for 10-15 minutes. No mess, no wait. Accepting okay, when better was possible with a bit more time.
I know that the biggest reason I rush through something is because (1) I want to feel the satisfaction of completion and (2) I fear if I take longer it means I am not giving it the attention it deserves.
Does that 2nd ‘excuse’ sound as awful to you as it did to me just now when I typed it?
As soon as I read what I wrote a picture of a homemade loaf of bread popped into my mind. Years ago I used to bake my own bread. I would spend all day preparing the dough, allowing it to rise, punching it down and allowing to rise again until it was time to punch it down and place it in the loaf pans where it would rise a 3rd time and then finally be ready to place in a hot oven to bake. Oh the flavor of that bread, fresh out of the oven. Grabbing a slice out of the bag I purchased from the store might be okay, but my mouth doesn’t water in anticipation like it did when I sliced that warm bread I worked on all day.
God is there, through all times – good and difficult, prosperous and poverty, hilltops and valleys. You are not alone. During his darkest moment on earth, Jesus knew He wasn’t alone. He knew it would be difficult, even asked God if there was any other way. Despite that he told his disciples “But the time is coming when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” John 16:32
“I know the plans I have for you” the Lord said. And He will not leave you alone.
There will be difficult times. It does not mean you are alone. Grab on to God’s promise of hope.