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. - Jeremiah 29:11
I’ve heard this verse so many times throughout my life from various friends and family members trying to give me encouragement. It’s the stereotypical send-off verse for high school seniors as they prepare to go to college or start their full-time jobs.
There was a point in my life when I was really struggling with depression. I felt beaten down and didn’t think I deserved any future at all.
Everyone else could see so much value in this verse, and they all thought it was going to help me. But it just made me angry. Plans for me? Yeah right. NOT to harm me? Oh okay… sure. Hope? Not so much. A future? I can’t see it. If God cares so much about my future, why is He putting me through all of this?
After a lot of frustration, I finally opened my Bible to the verse and read it in context.
This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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 on 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 29:10-13, NIV)
It finally clicked for me that this wasn’t just a verse about God’s plans for my future. This was written to those who were in exile for 70 years!
While the words of the verse serve as a reminder that God has a purpose for each and every one of us, He’s not promising that we won’t go through difficult times. And even though we all face struggles in life, we can be encouraged that God is with us through everything.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13