“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)
This verse came up recently in our weekly Bible study. Specifically, the question was considered, does God’s promise to Jeremiah apply to us as well?
It is extremely common for Christians to use this verse for comfort in their own difficult trials. It is also quite common to witness satirical or even mocking reminders that God was talking to the great prophet Jeremiah while in Babylonian captivity, and not to any of us.
So, does God’s promise to Jeremiah apply to us as well? God does have plans for us, and not plans that He dreamed up five minutes ago.
God has been planning since before creation to send His Son on our behalf.
“For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you, who through Him are believers in God.” (1 Peter 1:20-21)
God has been planning since before creation for us to know and follow this Christ.
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:4)
God’s plans for this salvation apply to all of us.
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
His plans are not only for our salvation in an abstract sense, but truly for our ultimate welfare.
“God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Therefore, God does know the plans that He has for us, and they are plans for welfare and not calamity, to give us a hope and a future.
If we misunderstand these assertions to be promises about smooth relationships, financial prosperity, good physical health, or good luck, we will probably be disappointed sooner or later.
But if we understand God’s promises as those that are ultimate and eternal, we can rest in His promises. That which is known is central for us, while that which is unknown is peripheral.