Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite scripture for so many people. It gives us the assurance that God has something good in store for us and that no matter what we are going through right now it will someday be over and we will experience good things in our lives.
When you look into the context of the scripture in which this was written we see that Jeremiah was actually writing to people who had been exiled and were being held in captivity. They were in bondage to their enemies. Jeremiah was offering them hope that it would end and that God had good planned for their future. He gave them some instructions for success in their captivity that I think are often overlooked, but that give us some keys to having a smooth transition from where we are now, sometimes in sorrow or pain, to where we will someday be at the culmination of what God has planned.
Jeremiah begins his letter acknowledging that the exiles are in a rough spot right now; they are in captivity.
Jeremiah 29:1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon.
That may be where you are in your life at this very moment. You may be struggling with something, going through a trial or tribulation, and maybe feeling like it may never end! You feel like you are in captivity to life!
Jeremiah goes on to tell them that they should not give up living just because they are in captivity. Sometimes we put off living our lives to the fullest until something “great” happens, or we achieve some unrealistic goal. But success in life is not in attaining some great prestigious position or receiving a large amount of money or even finding that one special someone to live out the rest of your life with. Success is in the journey! It is learning to live above the distractions of life; being satisfied with who you are where you are right now! God, through the prophet Jeremiah, tells them how to accomplish that feat:
Jeremiah 29:4-9 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
What God is saying to them is that they need to recognize where they are at that particular point in their lives, but not to the extent that it causes them to be paralyzed in life so that they don’t go on living. He tells them to go ahead and build houses and live their lives by planting gardens and cultivating crops; to marry and have children so that their families continue with their lineage. And then He gave them a very important instruction: “And seek the peace of the city…..and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”
Many times we fret about the problems we have or the state of the nation and how bad things are with the economy, when we really should be praying for the situation, for it’s through prayer that we will have peace in the midst of the storm. God understood that they were in a turmoil where they were, but they had forgotten that He is the God of the storm as well as the God of the peaceful times. We often get so caught up in what we are going through that we forget that God is able to deliver us in a nano-second! He is able to change things in the twinkling of any eye! He is a miracle-working God! And He knows when the trial will end…..there is an end coming. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t that of the train coming to hit us! God has a good future planned for us all!
God goes on to say, in Jeremiah 29:8, 9: For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely in My name: I have not sent them, says the LORD.
There are a lot of things going around the world through the internet. I get emails every day of things that are “prophesied” for our future. They may not say that they are prophecies, but they simply speak of a negative outlook regarding our future. They breed fear in the hearts of people. The Lord says not to listen to false prophets and not to think about the dreams that negative thoughts bring into your night’s sleep. Sometimes we dwell so much on the negative that it spills over into our sleeping hours. The subconscious takes over and brings dreams that are more nightmares than dreams. Look at what Jeremiah says after those two verses.
Jeremiah 29:10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
He said all of that to let them know that all the heartache they were experiencing would come to an end. And that His plans for them were good, not bad. Sometimes we go through things and feel that God has abandoned us, but He is right there with them, helping them to see that “this, too, shall pass”, just like He is right there with you, in the midst of your storm, offering words of encouragement and comfort in knowing that He has a good plan for your life and even though things are not going well now, they will change. The key to all of it is keeping your eyes on the Lord, watching for His hand to move, praying and following His directions for living life to the fullest. Speak confidently and positively about the hope that is within you, for God is always working; He never sleeps or slumbers and is always working for your good.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13 AMP: Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want. I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
Paul said he had learned the secret of how to face every situation. That secret was in drawing his strength from the Lord Jesus. It gave him the ability to stand in Christ Jesus through the storms of life. When we experience difficulties in life, what do we do? Usually, we begin to complain about how bad things are. Instead, we need to be positive about the situation, speaking the solution and not the problem. God is bigger than anything the world or the devil can throw at us! Look unto Jesus! He is the author and finisher of our faith. Paul said it is the secret of facing every situation having that inner strength that comes from Christ Jesus that got him through the difficult times. He became self-sufficient through Christ’s sufficiency. In other words, he didn’t depend on his own strength and abilities to see him through the rough times, but He drew on Christ’s strength and ability and lived his life through His supernatural sufficiency.
I love the Amplified translation of this portion of scripture because it talks about Christ Jesus infusing us with inner strength. I often get a picture of this portrayed as a huge funnel placed above my head with Jesus pouring His strength through that funnel into me. It helps me understand what it meas to be “infused” with His strength.
Friends, regardless of what you are going through today, it will come to an end and there are better days ahead of you. When I lost my husband I was grieving one Sunday morning at church and the Pastor’s message was “the best is yet to come”. After the service my late husband’s doctor walked up to me and said “don’t forget, the best is yet to come”. At that time it was very difficult for me to see anything good in my future as I had just lost my husband through a massive stroke. But God brought me out of bondage into a glorious future as He introduced me, within the next year, to my present husband. What I saw as devastation with no good in sight, He saw as a transition into the good plan that He had for my future. He knew that my husband would die and I would not get to live out my future with him, and He already had a plan put in motion for me to experience His goodness in my life. My friend, if God will do that for me, He will do the same for you! He is no respecter of persons according to Acts 10:34:
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.”
Don’t waste the days of your life grieving over where you are at this very moment! It just takes one word from God to change your life forever!
Hebrews 10:35, 36 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
Keep holding on to your faith in God; be confident that He is working on your behalf to bring you into the good plan that He has for your future. Endure to the end so you can receive the promise! God is faithful to do as He has promised!
Father, I thank You for Your great love for each one of us. I know that You have a good plan for our lives. I pray for my friends today who may be caught up in the problems of life. Father, give them a renewed vision of what You are doing in their lives. Fill them with expectation of the great future that You have for them. Show them, Father, that You are bringing them out of bondage to experience a good future. Thank You for giving them strength to endure to the end that they may receive the promised blessing that You have for them. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.