For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11
This quote was part of a letter God had Jeremiah write to the Jews whom Nebuchadnezzar had been taken captive to Babylon from Jerusalem. They had been ripped from their homeland, taken to a land where they were aliens and strangers. I can’t imagine how hopeless they felt.
But God told them what to do there. He told them to build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce. To get married and have children, then give their children in marriage to have more children. And incredibly, God told them to seek the welfare of Babylon where ultimately he had sent them into exile. God even told them to pray for Babylon’s welfare.
Then God promised that after 70 years he would bring them back to Jerusalem. He told them he had plans for them, plans for their good, plans for their future, plans to give them hope.
This is a good reminder for us. We need to regularly remember that this world is not our home.
As Peter tells us:
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 PE 2.11)
Just as Babylon was not the Jews’ final home, neither is this our final home. Our home is heaven. But like the Jews, we are to build our lives here for now. We’re to seek the good of our nation, our churches, our friends and neighbors. We’re to settle in – temporarily. But we mustn’t forget that after “70 years” – sooner or later – God will take us to our ultimate home – heaven.
Those are God’s plans for us. But he has plans for us now too.
Do you feel hopeless at times? Don’t know what to do? Face an uncertain future? Remember, God has plans for you. Both for the next life and for this life.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! PS 31.19
God has abundant goodness stored up for us who fear him and take refuge in him. Not just a little bit of goodness, but abundant, overflowing goodness.
God has specific plans for you
He isn’t vague or uncertain. He has every second of every day planned for us. He has an exact day and hour for our trials to end, just like had an exact 70 years planned for Israel. He has the exact time for you to meet your future husband. An exact day for you to land that job you can’t imagine. A day for you to get relief from that sickness. Our times are in his hands.
God knows his plans for you
“For I know the plans I have for you…” We don’t know God’s plans. But since he does, we can trust him. He knows his plans and how to fulfill them. Nothing can stop him from fulfilling them. He causes all things to work together to fulfill his plans.
God’s plans are for your good
He is a good Father. He loves to give good gifts to his children. Everything God does is good and righteous. Even when he takes us through things that feel hard, eventually we will see they were for our good and our joy and gladness in him.
God’s ultimate plan for us is make us like Christ, and bring us to himself, where we will gaze upon the face of Christ and experience never ending joy in his presence.
God has plans for us, but we must patiently wait for him to fulfill them, just as Israel had to wait for God to fulfill his plans for them:
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD! PS 27:13-14
First of all, we must trust God – we must continue to fight the good fight of faith – “I BELIEVE that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord.” We must regularly remind ourselves that God has promised he has plans for us, and that God will keep his word. He does not change his mind, or lie (NU 23:19).
And we must wait for God to fulfill his word in his timing. God tells us “be strong, and let your heart take courage” as we wait for him. We do this by calling to mind God’s many promises, and reminding ourselves of who God is.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. LA 3:21-23
Israel had to wait 70 years for God to fulfill his plan to bring them back to Jerusalem. But he surely did it.
We must trust God and wait for him in faith to fulfill his plans
God has wonderful, unimaginable plans for us. So wait for the Lord. Be strong, and let your heart take courage. Trust in him. You will look upon the goodness of the Lord, in this life and especially in the next. Of all the people on earth, we who have believed in Jesus have this incredible hope. Those who don’t believe in him have no hope.
Praise God that he is so good and loving and faithful to us. Ask him for grace to trust him and wait for him. Ask him to fill you with joy and help you serve others as you wait for him to fulfill his plans for you.
Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Saving Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have five children and five grandchildren.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.
This article originally appeard on TheBlazingCenter.com. Used with permission.
Photo Courtesy: Unsplash