A Future and A Hope
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 KNJV
As a divorcee struggling to rebuild my life, I yearned for a new partner and for the spiritual relationship with Jesus I had experienced as a youth, but had somehow lost as my marriage crumbled. It wasn’t long before I began to see Jeremiah 29:11 as my life verse. Ignoring most of the scripture, I focused on the fact that God had plans for me to have “a future and a hope.” Wasn’t that what I was seeking after all – hope of a new man in my life as well as a renewed walk with my Savior? As a result, Jeremiah 29:11 would become my “go-to-verse” whenever loneliness and darkness would consume me.
As God pieced together my brokenness, He led me to some great Christian pastors, teachers, and mentors who walked along side me teaching me how to study God’s word paying attention to context, meditating on God’s message, and the application of the scriptures. It was only then that I would come to understand the true and deeper meaning of Jeremiah 29:11.
This verse is given to the children of Israel while they were in exile and bondage in Babylon. Not only were they in bondage but God instructed them to serve King Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah 27:6-7 goes on to say that He will destroy them if they are disobedient. Three times God told them of this potential destruction in Jeremiah 27.
As if that was not enough, God tells them in Jeremiah 29:7 to, “Seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.” Really?? God wanted them to pray for the place where they were held captive?? Can you imagine how difficult that would be to hear?? God’s not going to just rescue them?? Instead, they are to serve the King and pray for the place where they are being held captive.
To make matters worse, in Jeremiah 29:10 God tells them, “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.” What? Wait 70 years?! Many of them will have died by that time!!!
Yet, in Jeremiah 29:11 God reassures them,“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God had a purpose in asking the Israelites to serve King Nebuchadnezzar, to pray for Babylon. He had a purpose in asking them to wait 70 years for Him to rescue them. He also has a purpose in our suffering; we are to remain obedient by serving, by praying, and by waiting. We are called to remain assured that in His perfect time, His purpose and His plan will be revealed in our life.
This verse is still my life verse, but I am no longer just focusing on God giving me “a future and a hope.” Instead, I try to focus on serving, praying, and remaining faithful-being confident that in His perfect timing He will fulfill His future and hope in my life. Amen!
Marilyn, thank you for sharing your experience of God guiding, comforting and instructing you. I loved it! Another reminder of how patient He is with us and how loving beyond measure.