Misunderstanding Jeremiah 29:11

4:41 PM

(September 7, 2014)
Jeremiah 29:11 is the classic greeting card Bible verse for any occasion. But it's usually out of context.

People usually use it to encourage others or themselves especially when searching for what vocation to follow.

For I know the plans for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

To be fair it was my favorite verse in high school, but like most people I had taken it out of context. Luckily there are many people wiser than I who have corrected my ways.

The verse itself is encouraging and empowering but not in the way you might think. Reading it alone makes it seem that God has a great plan for my life and wants to bless me. But that's not always the case. Sure, the Lord does know His plans for my life. Yes, he wants us to do well but that doesn't mean we will always prosper. In fact, the letter that Jeremiah is writing in this passage is to a group of people in exile. Take a quick look in the verse write before, This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 

God absolutely promises to bring His work to completion. He will never let us down. BUT first the people are in exile for 70 years! This letter is written to the children of those originally exiled. This means that some people never got out of exile. 

Consider the life we live in today an exile. This world is covered in sin. Not only are our bodies physically ill but also we are spiritually dead. Even the earth mourns what creation should be. God doesn't promise to remove all our fears and give us a rock-star life. In fact, Jesus tells us the opposite. The cost of following Him is challenging. We will experience hurt. There will be times when we don't have money, we don't have friends, we are lost, we are sick... We may struggle with some things our whole life and never see the good work finished. But time and time again God uses ordinary people like us to show how great He is. Our pain will turn into good. Through those struggles we grow closer to the Lord. We rely on Him for strength and healing. 

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About me

Regina is a junior at a small college in the middle of nowhere. She dreams of moving to California, painting, writing letters, thrifting, and cuddling with a dog.

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