“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).
Christians often use the verse above as a source of comfort when our plans fall through, or life gets too hard. I know in my own life because I have so much to deal with concerning my health, it's nice to have one of those "go-to" verses that help me 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? 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?
For I know the plans I have for you,"
God had a plan to redeem captive Israel from their rebellion toward Him. Due to their disobedience, they would be exiled to a foreign land for seventy years. God assures them right off that this is part of His plan.
We may not see the "good" in God's plans right now,