Day Nine: “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 find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:11-13)
I first saw the verse Jeremiah 29:11 on one of my high school graduation cards. It really comforted and strengthened me during a hard time of trying to figure out where I was going with my life and what I wanted to do with the future. I now call it “The Graduation Verse” as I have often heard it applied to that time in someone’s life. And yet it also can be so much more, which is why I included the following two verses in this post as well!
First of all, I had to realize it was God’s plans for my life we are talking about here. Not my own or someone else’s. This was an important distinction for me to make. Because what this verse is saying is that it is God who intends things for good and not for long-term harm. That it is God who desires that I look to my future with anticipation and hope. And therefore it is also important for me to realize that I should not try to play God in my own life. To think that I somehow have all the answers for my life or that I can somehow manipulate things toward the outcome I want. Because I can’t. (Although I often try with little success).
Plans, plans and more plans! We all make them and yet I’ve learned it is best to hold my plans out in open hands so that God can add to or remove things from them as He desires. And to trust that His plans are infinitely better than my own. Isaiah 55:8-9 says it best, ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,
declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” For me, this is very comforting as I come to terms with my own human limitations in this life.
The verse Jeremiah 29:13, about seeking God with one’s whole heart in order to truly find Him, is a verse that holds a special place in my life as well. For a time, God kept giving me the word wholehearted to dwell on. In 1 Chronicles 28:9 it talks about serving God with wholehearted devotion and a willing mind. Yet, while the word “wholehearted” convicted me as to whether I was actually following God in such a way, it was Jeremiah 29:13 that comforted me with the fact that God desires to be found by me. He is not someone trying to make me jump through a bunch of performance hoops but someone who offers me the free gift of salvation and unconditional love! All I need to do is seek after Him with all my heart. And yet that itself is no small task.
“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 find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:11-13)