Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most famous verses in the entire Bible. It says, “‘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.’” But many people don’t realize that this verse isn’t talking about getting a free ticket to an easy life without pain or struggle!
When they received this letter, the people of Israel were in exile and slavery under the Babylonians. Jeremiah wanted to encourage them, but he was also blunt. In Jeremiah 29:10, he wrote, “This is what the Lord says: ‘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.’” Can you imagine reading that? “In seventy years, when your children and maybe grandchildren are all grown and you are very old or dead, that’s when I’ll fulfill my promises to you.”
Jeremiah wanted the Israelites to know that they would face tremendous pressure, but that didn’t mean God’s promises weren’t still true. And the same is true for us—even when things don’t happen like we want them to, we can know that God’s ways are higher than our ways. He knows the big picture.
But what does that have to do with us?
Jeremiah 29:5 says, “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
The success of an apple tree isn’t just in whether or not it produces apples. A successful apple tree is one that produces apples that go on to produce more apples, that go on to produce more apples, and on and on. If this didn’t happen, eventually we wouldn’t have apples anymore.
God has a plan that hasn’t changed since the beginning of time. And we all have a part to play in that plan. He wants all humans to belong and find success in their lives. 2 Corinthains 4:7-8 says, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” Everyone who is a believer in Christ has a purpose as a jar full of treasure. And this jar can always be refreshed with new blessings from God, so it’s our calling to use the treasure to multiply. Bring life and hope wherever you go. Be so full of the treasure of God that it can’t help but spill out wherever you go!