What’s your favorite Scripture? If you’re like most of the people who have shared their favorites with me, you’ll probably quote Jeremiah 29:11 “‘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.’” I understand why people love this passage. It’s encouraging, comforting, and it provides incredible hope and perspective when we need it the most.
However, it’s usually taken out of context.
When God issued this staggering promise of a future hope He was writing to a people who had been deported from their homeland and were living in exile. This was not a chipper, light-hearted promise for a good life it was an anchor for people who were living through tough social, political, and economic times. It was a promise for those who needed to see something better than the current backdrop of their life.
And it’s not the only thing He said to them. In the very next verse He went on to say, “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” (verses 12-13).
Jeremiah 29:11 is not a promise that we’re supposed to idly sit back and wait for. It’s a promise for those who call upon Him, pray to Him, and who will seek Him with all of their hearts even when it seems that they’re living in exile.