God’s Good Plan for You
Posted by Brad Quiring on July 24, 2017
“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.” Jeremiah 29:11
This verse is often quoted during a trial to encourage or inspire — pointing us to the promise that God has specific plans to help us prosper, so don’t worry!
God DOES have a wonderful plan for our lives. That plan may very well include some strong discipline and tough times as God changes the direction of our lives to line up with his perfect plan. Are we willing to submit to God’s truly good plan, even if it means times of unpleasant tests and circumstances?
To understand this meaning of Jeremiah 29:11, we need to see the whole picture:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.
10 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. 11 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.
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
This is God’s word according to God’s plan.
Being sent into exile for 70 years because of sin was all part of God’s good plan. He had warned Israel clearly over hundreds of years, yet they refused to listen. So God carried out his plan to discipline Israel for their good.
Hardships have their root in our own sin and foolishness as well as from the sin of others. If we suffer because we are sinning, it is a natural result and God sends and uses this suffering to correct us. If we suffer because of our faith and godly lifestyle, God will send and use that difficulty to make us stronger followers of Jesus Christ.
God Good Plan for Peace and Restoration
God’s advice through Jeremiah advice is to settle down and live life as normally as possible.
When we are in the midst of difficulties, we can feel paralyzed. If we trust God’s word that this is all part of his plan and He is actively working, then we should begin by going about our normal lives. Doing what needs to be done. Often the greatest challenge in life isn’t doing the great, spectacular thing, it is doing the daily stuff that needs to be done, but in a faithful way.
Does this mean we accept what is happening? YES! False prophets who did not believe in God and actively opposed Jeremiah told Israel to rebel against King Nebuchadnezzar and that God would return them to Jerusalem within two years. God had different plans and told Israel to submit to him and to the nation in which they were now living.
What about the difficult people that we have in our lives, especially if they have authority over us?
God told His people to pray for the peace and prosperity of the Babylonian captors. This was simple. If there was peace and prosperity for Babylon, they too would have peace and prosperity. Therefore they needed to pray. We must do the same for the people with whom we live and work.
Finally, Return to following God’s way as revealed in His Word, the Bible
Acknowledge that this hardship is part of God’s working in your life.
Trust God’s promise to restore you when the trial ends, just as he had promised Israel that after 70 years, they would be restored.
This process on our part is repentance:
Call on me – God will respond
Come to Me – God will be there
Pray to Me – God will listen and answer
Seek Me with all your heart - You will find God
In all of this God does not say, “And you will pay such and such a price”. God’s forgiveness and reconciliation always have cost Him, He has always paid the price. The price was paid by Jesus himself when he died on the cross for our sins.
God’s good plan is part of his discipline in our lives to correct us and bring us in line with His perfect will and Good Plan!
Check this out before you go: Hebrews 12:4-13