Many of my friends claim the following verse as one of their favorite biblical promises:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
What many don’t realize is that this promise was pronounced before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians and its residents taken away into exile for 70 years!
God is promising Jeremiah, in the preceding verse, “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.”
In our instant “New York minute” microwave world, waiting 70 years for God to answer prayer seems like an eternity. But God promises in verses 12-13: “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
During those 70 years, God promises to be with His people. And that is the real promise here. Whether we are facing “good” or seeming “disaster,” we have “a future and a hope.” We have His presence!
Copyright © 2000 James N. Watkins
Painting: Rembrandt’s Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem