"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
This is a wonderful promise from a wonderful God but as I commented yesterday, it is often taken out of context. So, let's put it in context because when we do we will find it becomes even more powerful!
The first three verses of this chapter set the scene for us. Jerusalem had been invaded by the vaunted Babylonian Empire and God's people became captives of King Nebuchadnezzar. So, they had lost their freedom, their sovereignty and their national identity. Their captivity came as the result of their disobedience and idolatry.
Like their ancient plight, life is often less than simple for us. It often brings heartache and hardship and hard times. Perhaps you find yourself there today. Actions have consequences and poor decisions bring poor results. Whether your captivity is of your own making or you are caught up in the chaos of circumstances beyond your control, your life is far from peaceful. For you life is hard, you don't like it, you don't see a way out and it is sucking the hope out of your spirit.
Here's where the good news begins!
It was into life situations just like yours that this promise was given! And while God didn't promise immediate deliverance He inserts some reasons for hope. God often chooses not to rescue you from self-inflicted misery resulting from disobedience or poor decisions, but He will offer relief. He will remind you there is an expiration date on your suffering.
When you make bad decisions that lead to trouble it may take a long series of good decisions to bring you out. The first good decision is to return to God, begin obeying His Word and start hoping in His promises. Today would be a good day to start!