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. (Jeremiah 29:11)
The Scripture is often quoted and given as a word of encouragement to those who feel directionless or purposeless. I’m sure everyone understands the beauty and power of what God is reminding His children of with these words, however I’ve gained insights recently that I didn’t always have when quoting this verse in the past. I want to share so that readers of this message can be encouraged even further when reflecting on this beautiful promise from God.
In the first part of the verse, God says that He knows the thoughts He thinks towards us. Some translations use the word “plans” in place of “thoughts”. Either way, the Sovereign God – the One and only One who created the heavens and the earth, all the planets and stars, all living things, and who reigns above all things – that He has specific thoughts and plans about your life. He doesn’t think of people as numbered entities with no real purpose. We are His creation, His sons and daughters. He knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7; Matthew 10:30) and He has a specific personal plan for each one of our lives. Not one person on earth is forgotten or left out. He loves each one and has thoughts and plans about each one all the time! This is such a powerful truth, and a great way to meditate on His greatness and beauty.
I’m going to return to that first section again later, but now I’ll move on to the latter part of the passage. These thoughts that God thinks towards us are “thoughts of peace and not of evil” or “plans to prosper you and not to harm you” (NIV). This is so reassuring to be reminded that God’s thoughts and plans for each of His children are for a peaceful, prosperous life. It is never His plan for one of his sons or daughters to live in misery, depression, or brokenness. He never wants for anyone to take their own life. God weeps when this happens. He formed and fashioned each person and made plans, even before they were alive, He had plans for them, so when they take their lives, He is greatly saddened by that, and that was never His plan for them. His plans promise to prosper us with life and strength and peace. God then adds “to give you a future and a hope” which again reassures us that in the blueprint for our individual lives, He promises a blessed future in our lives on earth, but also for our destiny in being with Him as His bride. We cannot forget that His plans for us to not end with our bodily death. We are to be the Bride of Christ, and this is our highest hope and calling. This is the future He plans for every person on earth; however many will unfortunately reject this plan and therefore will not receive the destiny they are freely offered. Bringing it back to earth though, He still does promise a hope and a future on earth too, so anytime you feel that you have no meaning or purpose, just remember that you have a huge purpose to the One who created you and who will reign forever! You will have a future with opportunities of friendships, relationships, ministry, education, work, and much more. God wants you to have a blessed, joy-filled life, and He has already written your story for you. This doesn’t mean there won’t be trials or tribulations. There will be trials in your life, perhaps even persecution for your faith. But God’s promise says that you have a hope and a future awaiting you beyond the storms you may face throughout your life. Your destiny is for a prosperous future through Him.
Now, I’m going to return to mention one last glorious truth about God’s promise in this passage. The first three words state, “For I know,” which may not be recognized as anything major in this verse, but in actuality holds huge power! Not only does God have these plans for peace, hope, and a future for each of His children; but He knows these plans. At all times, this plan for your life is on His mind. He knows every detail of these plans and never, even for a second, forgets or loses focus about His plan for your life. He always knows these thoughts He has for you.
This is a great passage to meditate on (and I recommend extending to Jeremiah 29:13 too!), and to just reflect on how amazing it is that the God who is above all things has an individual plan for your life and afterlife and knows you personally. His promises are so great and He is always faithful to complete what He has started in you (Philippians 1:6) and to fulfill His plans for you!