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.
This verse could be printed inside a graduation card. It sounds encouraging and positive about the future. We might imagine that these words could be used to give encouragement to someone who has accomplished great things and is on their way to even greater things.
But the Lord was speaking through the prophet to people who were in exile. What’s more, they had just heard the news that they would be in exile for many more years before they could return to their homeland. These were not people who had accomplished great things, and they were not people who were feeling positive about their future. They were probably feeling quite discouraged about the exile and about their dim prospects for the future.
To these people—and to us today—God does not promise health and wealth and a great personal life. Instead he promises something so much deeper and better: God promises that he is saving the whole world and that we can be included in that salvation. Our hope for the future rests not in our own selves but in his power and love. In our own exile of sin, God gives us not just a graduation card but certain hope for a future held in his care.
Do you have that hope? Rest in it today!
God of the past, present, and future, we entrust ourselves to your care. We trust that in times of joy and in times of sorrow, our hope is in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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