These verses from Jeremiah are some of my favorite encouraging passages in the Bible.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart. (Jer 29:11-13)
I don’t usually quote the NIV, but I do like the way it phrases verse eleven: “‘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.'” Even when we’re not sure what our own plans are for the future, we are assured that God has good things in store for us. He wants to see us succeed.
Since I graduated from college last year, my life hasn’t been going exactly like I planed. I’d intended to apply to several different grad schools and be back in school this fall, but for some reason I decided not to. Or rather, I didn’t decide exactly what to do and so nothing really got done.
I couldn’t (and still can’t) decide if I want to commit the next six years or so to an English Lit PhD program, try to get a 3-4 year MFA in Creative Writing, or finally pursue my interest in type psychology. I’m not going to commit to or spend money on a program until I know which one I want. If I want any of them …
The other reason I find these verses in Jeremiah so encouraging are because of the promise that God will be there when we call on Him. He doesn’t hide from people who long for a relationship with Him.
For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart. (Jer. 24:6-7)
When we give our hearts to God, He promises that He will help us even — especially — when we don’t know what to do on our own. All-knowing, all-powerful, He is the ultimate source of strength and encouragement. And we can rest assured that He will make “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).