God’s Plan for Us

“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.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29: 11- 13

This is one of those verses that makes it onto encouragement cards or even gets the highly honored name of “favorite verse.”  It’s a verse that’s so full of hope that we cling to it like a buoy in the stormy seas of life. 

It’s one of those funny verses, though, that is smack in the middle of a book in the Bible that we don’t often read.  So, when I was reading through Jeremiah recently in my read-through-the-Bible in a year plan, I practically grazed right over that verse without noticing it.  Then, I stopped, a little bit startled.   That verse, that favorite hopeful encouraging verse, was right in the middle of Jeremiah?

Wait a minute?  I was just reading about how God planned to destroy the Babylonians, to pour out His wrath upon Israel and Judah, and all God’s reasons for these disciplinary measures.

God’s people, the kingdom of Judah, had disowned Him.  They had actually sacrificed their own children in the fire to another god, which seems like the most abhorrent sin I could ever imagine.  So, I was right on track with God’s plans to clear the promised land of these people who called themselves by HIS name, but lived like pagans.

They were immoral, they were unjust, they disobeyed God’s direct commands, they killed His prophets, they thought they could get away with their sinful lifestyles without consequences.  And finally, after years of putting up with this atrocious behavior, God is ready to bring down the hammer.

So, “His” people were attacked, carried off to Babylon (and various other countries), the temple and palace were burned to the ground and Jerusalem was left desolate.  God said it was about time that the land took it’s Sabbath rest.

BUT….

But, God never ends with discipline.  He didn’t give up on His people even though they had forsaken Him.  He stilled loved them with an everlasting love and He still planned to woo them back into His embrace.

Sometimes when you read a verse in the context of the rest of story, the meaning changes a little bit.  But this time, the meaning was only amplified for me.  When things seem to be at the very worst they could EVER be, that’s the exact moment when God says He has a plan.  Yes, His people are undergoing great discipline, but His plan is never for their harm.

Ultimately, God’s plan for our lives isn’t about prosperity and everything being just wonderful.  No, His plan is that we would seek Him.

And so, I realized that God does have a plan for my life and that alone gives me great hope.  But when the plan seems difficult, I am reminded that His plan for me always revolves around my relationship with Him.   Whatever is going on in my life, His ultimate plan is that I would come to Him, seek Him and live in communion with Him.

Seeking Him,

*Photo Credit:  Bern Altman at stock.xchng

17 thoughts on “God’s Plan for Us

  1. LaurieLAURIE

    Heather, I love it that God is at the steering wheel of my life … I need Him to be cuz I sure would end up on the absolute wrong course if He wasn’t.

  2. TracyTracy

    Heather, great devotion! This is one of my “favorite verses” as well! But, I also love the whole book of Jeremiah. When I first discovered the context of the verse, I had the same reaction! But, as God sent them into captivitiy, He still had amazing plans for them. Wow, does that add a whole new depth to an amazing promise. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT that we begin reading the WHOLE Bible- not just a verse here and there! Good job on reading through the Bible…..I am working on that as well! :) Again, I was so blessed by your devo- thanks, girl!

  3. MarshaMarsha

    Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the first verses I have the at risk girls I teach memorize. Some of them have very harsh family backgrounds, some come to me out of a mess of their own making. Either way, most are in the throws of discipline (court orders for some).

    When they see the terrible things Israel did and yet God told them there was a future and a hope for them, it gives them hope.

    Thanks for this devo, Heather.

  4. eph2810

    How true, Heather. Yes, often God disciplines us, but He always has only welfare in mind. I love the verse in Jeremiah …for some reason, that verse keeps coming up in my life – no matter where I look :)

    Thank you for your encouraging words…

  5. Ryan Willis

    I have been looking for this verse all day. God has put in upon my heart to share this verse and its meaning to a group of young adults at a correctional center. It has so much meaning and power as said by so many other readers. I can only hope to give it to these young men and women the way the Lord gave it to me. Please pray for me and these young adults at the Anthony Correctional Center.

  6. Lonwabo Singata

    Heather you have made me realise, even through the darkest and most difficult times I am experiencing, that God is never far. I only need to seek Him because He loves me with an everlasting love. Thank you for this spirit reviving talk about God. May He bless you.

  7. Lexy

    oh my gosh! this is my absolute favorite verse! it helps me soo much, and no matter what i am going through in life i know can come to this verse and it makes me so encouraged and ahh i just love it! :)

  8. Rodney Gainous, Jr.

    Hey Heather,

    This is a good message. Yes God does have a plan and so many of us don’t realize it and live up to our fullest potential. And even when God punishes us, He still loves us. He doen’t give up on us like we do each other.

    Keep up the good work.

    Be blessed,

    Rodney

  9. Julie S

    Excellent reading! So often, we as Christians are condemned for taking Biblical verses out of context. How beautiful that when we read a verse in the context it was written, the message is even stronger. Thank you for this precious reminder.

  10. C

    I read your verse and it only adds to my confusion about God. I feel like I’ve lost my way with God and my faith has certainly faltered. I was raised in the church but somehow I’ve gotten off track as an adult. Over the years I’ve literally gone on a church hunt for just the right place even trying a metaphysical church. That relationship lasted a few years until I just became so disillusioned with the minister. As long as I was in a position to make heavy tithes I heard fom her all the time. However when circumstances changed and I was not in the same position to do so, it’s as though she forgot my name. I’ve gone back to my Baptist roots but still I’ve not found the place where I feel that I belong. I really feel like I don’t belong anywhere. The saddest part of all is that I am still raising two children (twins that I had late in life) and I am in a joyless, loveless marriage. I’ve called on God numerous times, but he has not answered. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to fix things and yes I’ve tried numerous forms of therapy, medication, and unconventional treatment. I am a fully functioning adult and All I really want is for my life to work, to transmit joy to my children and to feel like I belong someplace and most of all that God loves and cares about me. Can anyone help me with that. I’ve made so many mistakes in this life and sometimes I feel that I am being punished for each and every one of them.

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