Does God have Plans for Me?

“‘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.

Security of the Believer?

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most loved and quoted Bible verses of our time. Personally, I cannot remember ever attending a high school or college graduation at which this verse was not read aloud:

‘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.’”

We know that technically the verse was spoken to Jeremiah and not to us. And we know that technically it does not promise to bless us with physical health or safety, or to protect us from difficult situations.

But we still love Jeremiah 29:11. Because we long to feel the peace and security of resting in God’s loving arms. We long for Jesus to comfort and protect us the way he wanted to comfort and protect Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37: “the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

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Perhaps that desire for security is also behind the popular teaching of “once saved always saved,” often used to offer the Christian the false hope that a brief experience of accepting Jesus at one point in time guarantees us a spot in heaven no matter what we do afterwards.

It is not physical security that God offers, and neither is it the logic-defying proposition that we can somehow go to heaven even as we reject the God who illuminates it.

Rather, God offers us the security of knowing that no one and nothing can separate His love from those who would walk in it.

If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:31-39

As Jesus states in His message to the church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:8, “I have put before you an open door which no one can shut.

The door of salvation is open before us, and no one and nothing will shut it. The question that remains is this: will you walk through that door, and abide inside with God?