“I know the plans that I have you,” declares the Lord. “They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.”
— Jeremiah 29:11 (GW)
Plans are a thing we are constantly engaging in. No matter how disorganised our lives are we are found scheming about the next minute, hour, or day. And how much do we skip ahead of the day, planning either diligently or anxiously? We hardly need to mention how we plan in reverse; that is, the review of our plans and our thoughts as to whether they worked out or not.
We spend a great deal of time thinking about the future and the past. Not all of this is worthy of our time. But, by instinct it seems, we get concerned by what has been or what could be.
In our planning we always seek something better, particularly when hard times have struck. We never can tell when a harder time might strike, but it does us more good to think in ways where we are reminded of God’s faithfulness to deliver us up on good plans.
It is best, always, to believe God’s plan to prosper us and not harm us; to give us a hope and a future.
But with this belief—and it is a biblical belief—the belief of a Christ-believer—we must add a very important component. Indeed, this component is a necessity.
In alignment with other like-Scriptures (I’m thinking about Psalm 37:4 and Matthew 6:33), Jeremiah 29:11, in context with what follows in verses 12-14, is heavily reliant on putting our faith in God first—seeking the Lord with all our hearts.
Seek the LORD
Sometimes we use Jeremiah 29:11 out of place.
We consider it an unconditional promise to anybody who even tacitly believes in God. Well, even demons believe in God, as James tells us (2:19). Our ‘belief’ must be more than what we say.
Our faith must be set apart by our obedience.
The righteous will live by faith.
Faith without obedience is not faith. Faith without obedience is just disobedience. But a proper faith, based in the portents of truth and love and myriad virtue, to trust in God beyond sight, to live by faith, is manifest by continually seeking the Lord.
When we seek the Lord with all our hearts, God will be found by us. That is the promise of Jeremiah 29:13. Of course, as soon as we note the faithfulness of God we do tend to seek him with all our hearts. Faithfulness usually presents as a miracle, and miracles always encourage the faithful to look to God.
It is good for us to align God’s promise to give us a hope and a future with our faithfulness to seek him. We should not expect God to be faithful to us when we are not faithful initially or by response.
Despite the horrendous things that occur, we should not doubt that God has a good plan for our lives; for peace, a hope, and a prosperous future. Let us honour the Lord by seeking Jesus with all our hearts.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.