Day 30: Jeremiah 29:1- 32
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and You will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV).
I have read Jeremiah 29:11 multiple times and quoted it numerous times, however, reading it with the understanding of the previous chapters has given it a new meaning for me. Take a moment and put yourself in the shoes of the people of Judah; they had been exiled to Babylon, meaning they were being held captive there, and they receive this letter from Jeremiah while he is still in Jerusalem. This letter pretty much tells them to make the most out of their situation because they’re going to be in captivity for 70 years but God has a plan for them. Granted the people were exiled because of their own disobedience but let’s be honest we would not really be all that comforted if we received this letter telling us that we’re pretty much going to be in slavery for 70 years but no worries God has a plan to restore you in the end. There’s a great lesson in this however; as God is telling the people “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you” He’s telling them even though He’s exiled them to Babylon, the plan is not to hurt them or harm them but to get them to turn back to Him. In turning back to Him, He will restore them and when they go to seek Him, He will respond to them.
Sometimes God allows us to go through difficult times to bring us back to Him. In the moment however all we can look at is what is wrong and how hard it is for us that we can’t see it as an opportunity for us to turn to God and grow in Him. It appeared that God wanted to harm them but the reality was He knew these people were stubborn and hard heartened and He knew what would get their attention. Even if exiling them would hurt them and make them uncomfortable if it would get them back to God He would do it because it would give them hope and a future in eternity with Him. God will do whatever He has to do to win your soul and that includes allowing you to hit rock bottom so that you turn to Him. As you face different tests and trials don’t use it as an opportunity to complain but make the most of it and allow God to work in you during that time knowing that it will bring you closer to Him. Know that He has not abandoned you in those times either. He just wants you to learn to seek Him wholeheartedly and He promises that He will be found by you.