Seasons. With each new season comes new opportunities, new tasks and new challenges. The change of seasons can be exciting; filled with anticipation and hope for what’s to come. But the change of seasons can also bring feelings of anxiety as we await the unknown of what’s ahead. As one year winds down a new year waits in the shadows, what is your hope for 2019?
“‘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 a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse we quote regularly, its truth filling us with comfort in times of confusion and distress. When we feel ourselves spiraling into a sea of worry and doubt, we cling to the promise of God’s faithfulness and are surrounded by an unsurpassed peace. We resist the temptation to fear our circumstances when we trust in His perfect plan for us.
The assurance offered in this passage satisfies our insecurities with a reminder of the Lord’s goodness. Yet the verse holds even more than a word of encouragement in hard times. Upon close inspection, there is a very profound truth here that shows up when we dig a little deeper.
When we study Jeremiah 29:11, we see the Lord’s declaration that it is ‘I who knows the plan.’ It is His path we’re taking, His goals we’re striving for and His will we’re seeking. It’s when we follow His plans that we prosper!
But what does this mean… to “prosper?” Does this mean that if we’re obedient to God, He will offer us a problem-free life? Will we receive the success, riches and popularity we desire?
Jeremiah 29:11 is not a promise of a life of ease, for Jesus assures us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble…” We are guaranteed hardship and difficulty. But because of God’s faithfulness and provision, we are promised that amidst these troubles, we will still prosper!
When we trust in God’s knowledge and control of His plan for our lives, we can trust that whatever hardship we endure, it is ultimately for our good. Jeremiah 29:11 does not guarantee happiness, but rather reminds us of the eternal hope we have in Christ - the reality that, as believers in Jesus, no matter what trials we face, nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:39).
What a wonderful promise! The security we find in God’s love in Christ is so much more satisfying than the hope of earthly prosperity. It’s this lasting assurance that makes life worth living, offering us a purpose that extends far past the success or failures of today. It’s this ultimate plan that offers us our “hope” and “future!”