“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)
Most of us love to read passages like this one. After all, who wouldn’t want to know that God had a special plan for them? Yet there are some who experience a feeling of frustration whenever they come across such promises. Often the frustration is due to something that ‘has’ or perhaps ‘has not’ happened in their life. For them, life hasn’t turned out the way they had hoped and hearing of God’s promise to bless them often seems like cruel mockery, or perhaps even a lie. The key to understanding this passage of scripture is found in the phrase, “for I know the plans I have for you.” God has a special plan for every life; however, often His plans are different than ours.
The nation Israel had rebelled against God and as a result, the Lord had assigned them to spend 70 years in captivity. Yet there were some among the people who tried to ignore God’s plan and shorten their stay in Babylon. Could we force God to change His plans?
“…this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD. This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious 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. hen you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah 29:8-12)
God not only knows “what” He plans to do, He also knows “when” and even “how” He plans to do it. Often there is a divine sequence of events that must take place in order for God’s plan to be fulfilled and accomplished. What should we do while we are waiting for God’s plans to unfold?
Several years ago there was song entitled ‘Trust His Heart’ that contained some very encouraging words.
“So when you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.” (Cynthia Clawson)
God does not want us to try to force Him to change His plans, nor did He want us to be fearful that He has no plan. What He wants is for us to put our faith and trust in Him and wait for Him to accomplish His will.
“This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:4-7)