Trust in the Lord with all your heart
The above verse was one of the first verses I ever memorized as a new Christian and it has stuck with me for close to forty years. But what does it mean to trust in God? How do we know when we are hearing from Him and how do we step back from our desires and submit to Him alone? Surprisingly, the verse above gives us the answer.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The above verse is probably one of the most quoted verses when something bad happens in our lives. I think every time I've had a death in my family someone, somewhere will quote this verse to me. It is meant as a comfort of course, and people mean well when they say it, but how does it really apply to our lives? Do all bad events have a good purpose? Does God purposely cause all things to work out in a Christian's favour?
The verse immediately after Romans 8:28 gives the impression that not only does God make everything work out for the Christian, but He basically has preordained who would become His, thus enjoying His blessings.
“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, NIV).
The verse above is often used by Christians as a source of comfort when our plans fall through, or life just gets too hard. I know in my own life, because I have so much to deal with in relation to my health, it's nice to have one of those "go to" verses that help me to not lose hope or give up entirely.
Prosperity teachers would have you believe that Jeremiah 29:11 is all about how God wants us to prosper financially. But that is not what this verse is all about. So what does Jeremiah 29:11 tell us about God? What are His plans for us? In order to get to the heart of this verse, we need to first take it in context. This was a message from God to the Jews who were being held in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. The verses surrounding Jeremiah 29:11 are specifically to tell the Jewish people that God had a plan and after seventy years, He would bring them back to Jerusalem. You can read the whole chapter at Biblegateway.com.
So, does that mean the verse has no benefit for us today? On the contrary, we are at the heart of God's plans. So what does this verse tell us?