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. Jer 29: 11 NIV
This scripture has brought comfort to many Christians (myself included) during times of uncertainty. Many times I have prayed this scripture when things happen in my life and I cannot explain them or when I am earnestly asking God for a special blessing, I remind Him from this scripture that his plans are to prosper me and give me a future and a hope.
Over the past few weeks, however, I have had the privilege of thinking about this scripture a little more deeply when I heard it quoted at the memorial service of a Christian young man who died very unexpectedly. The question was posed: “Was this God’s plan?” As I pondered the question, a very unusual answer came to me in the form of another question: “What is the future and hope God promises?”
If our hope in Christ is for this life alone, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ the firstfruits; then at His coming, those who belong to Him. 1 Cor 15: 19-23 BSB
As Christians, our hope and future are not of this world. Our hope, our future, our glory, and crown are in the fact that when our life is over in this world, we will stand victorious before the King of kings, Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ in the next world. If you have made Jesus the Lord and Saviour of your life then you have a hope and a future and that is God’s plan for you. It is God’s desire that everyone is saved and comes to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2: 4 BSB).
So what about the prosperity promised in the scripture? People have a tendency to think of prosperity only in terms of money, wealth, and possessions but Jesus describes possessions not only as earthly but also heavenly. This is why He encouraged that we store up treasures in Heaven as well. This is not to say that I have prayed amiss all these years or encouraged myself with this scripture in vain. But as God calls me to enjoy a deeper relationship with him, I have come to the realization that this scripture Jer 29: 11 is both relevant for my life here on earth and also has eternal implications. I believe that God’s plan for me here on earth is that I prosper, be in good health, be successful, be happy and be delivered from harm. This is all scriptural. But I have also come to know in these past weeks that my prosperity, my future, and my hope is eternal and it is anchored in Christ the Solid Rock on which I stand while on this earth.
Thus by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be strongly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus our forerunner has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek Hebrews 6: 18-20 BSB
As we slowly come to the end of the year, the end of a decade, the question I have for you and for myself is this: “Is your future anchored on the hope that is Jesus?” 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.