Day 2: 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.”
In the earlier part of this year, many of us will have made plans. Business plans, travel plans, fitness plans, perhaps even plans for what we were going to do during this Easter Holiday period.
And many if not all of those plans will have been destroyed or at least disrupted by the global situation we are facing right now.
The verse in today’s reading may be very familiar to us. And maybe in challenging times it might prompt us to question its wisdom. How can I find hope or see any sort of ‘plan’ within this?
But this verse itself was delivered by the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Israel, who were exiled in Babylon. Earlier in the chapter Jeremiah had told the people that God’s word was that they would remain in exile for a further 70 years and should be making plans to settle in the land. This was not the news they wanted to hear, but the encouragement comes at the end that despite the apparent hardship, God could still prosper them, give them hope, give them a future. It doesn’t even say ‘when all this is over, there’s hope in store for you’. There’s nothing in the wording to suggest that the hope, the prosperity, the future couldn’t be received right there and then.
Now we don’t know how long our current circumstances will last (although not even the most pessimistic reports have suggested anything like as long as 70 years!) but what we do know is that the same God who spoke these words of encouragement to the Israelites is able, even now, in spite of the challenges and limitations that have been thrust upon us, to bring hope, life, healing and advancement to our lives.
And our hope-filled future doesn’t need to wait until this season is over, it can begin now, right in the midst of it.
Ps Paul Swindell