“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremiah 29:11
Hundreds of years before Jesus of Nazareth was born, the prophet Jeremiah wrote these words. In Jeremiah’s time, God was not ready to reveal His long-term plans for humanity…but He did foster hope with utterances such as this one.
The Old Testament is like a box of jigsaw puzzle pieces and Jesus of Nazareth is like the picture of the assembled pieces found covering the top of the box. The picture reveals how the puzzle is to come together.
Most people reading Jeremiah’s words today would take them as a promise from God to give us better things in this life: a better job, a hoped-for spouse, healthy offspring, and so on. God does want us to experience good in life, but these words speak of plans far more extensive than what can be accomplished in this life.
Through Jesus Christ, God kicked down the wall of death that had been cutting us all off from any sort desirable future. As we have read before in one of our daily devotions:
…God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…
– 2 Timothy 1:8-11
Yes, it is through Jesus Christ that “immortality” has been brought to light. Through His resurrection, we have a sense of the shape of the life to come. Most notably, it will be in heaven – not here! Do you love the earth? Heaven will be better! When mom and dad excitedly plan a vacation for the children, should the children assume that the destination will be a dud?
We need reminders of the glory of life in heaven because the sufferings of this life can be hard. Sometimes very hard. Through sin, evil makes its way into the world; and since our sins are great, the evils let loose in the world are great. Yet one day, evil will be in our rearview mirror.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, thank You for a hope that trumps any present trouble…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)