“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. ” Jeremiah 29:11 MSG
This verse is often quoted when things are difficult or confusing. It’s a comforting verse. I’ve quoted it many times and have held tightly to it during rough periods of my life. Today, I read the entire chapter. It’s either the first time I’ve read the whole thing or the first time I’ve paid attention to it. Either way, my eyes were opened.
This verse is in the middle of God sending a message to His children. The children of Israel had been taken into captivity in Babylon. Their only desire: to go home. There were prophets that were assuring them they would be going home soon. But, God had a different message:
“This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.
” Yes. Believe it or not, this is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: “Don’t let all those so-called preachers and know-it-alls who are all over the place there take you in with their lies. Don’t pay any attention to the fantasies they keep coming up with to please you. They’re a bunch of liars preaching lies—and claiming I sent them! I never sent them, believe me.” God’s Decree!
This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jeremiah 29:4-11 MSG
God did promise to gather all of His children together and to bring them home. After 70 years had passed in Babylon, that is. I don’t think that was what the people wanted to hear. God was telling them to make their homes there in Babylon. They were to live their lives to the fullest. In Babylon. And, (I think this would be the hardest part for me), they were to PRAY for Babylon to do well! Really!?! They’ve carried me and my family away into captivity, and I’m supposed to pray for good things for them?
I don’t know about you, but when I pray for God to do something, I really want it done now. Next week might work. A month from now would be pushing things. I’ve never requested or expected to wait 70 years. Wow. This changes the way I look at “plans to give you the future you hope for”.
How many times have I kicked and complained with my lot in life? How many times have I cried out to God and questioned His decisions? How many times have I accused God of not listening or caring? Truthfully, more than I would like to admit.
I’m currently living within some parameters that I don’t like. There are rules and consequences that many times seem to take over my every moment. My life is not always mine to do with as I please. This will be my life for the foreseeable future. When I read these scriptures, I knew God was reminding me to wait on Him. I can live my life, captive to circumstances out of my control. I can live fully and trust Him. He doesn’t promise to remove the issues as I would prefer. But, He does assure me that “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”
The next few verses are actually when the comfort arrives:
“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” Jeremiah 29:12-14a MSG
This doesn’t say, “Call out to me and I’ll give what you want.” He does promise that I can always find Him. He will always listen. I will not be disappointed even in circumstances or trials that I just don’t like at all. I need to make finding God my priority, not escaping from my “captors”.
So, I will always be glad that God has a plan for me. But, my new goal is to this:
SERIOUSLY seek God and put Him above every circumstance in my life.
Are you struggling with your own “70 year captivity”?