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
You can't imagine Jeremiah was very popular when the people read his letter. It was like the person who says, "I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want to hear first? Okay, the bad news is you're going to be in exile for 70 years. The excellent news is God has great plans for your children and grandchildren." Gee, thanks for that news, Jeremiah. We prefer the lie that Hananiah told us that it would only be two years (28:3).
God also gave them instructions on how to live while they were in exile, “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper" (29:5-7). They weren't to sit around idly in despair but to press on with their lives in this foreign land under someone else's rule. God had plans for them in the future and for the immediate -- the here and now of today.
For over a year, it seems like we have been in exile. At times it feels like we are living in a foreign land. Amid dealing with life’s everyday problems, we have had to learn to live within a pandemic. But this is not the end; as with the exiles in Babylon, God encourages us to live. It isn't easy, but continue to press on. Do not despair but take hope in God's promise, for he has,
plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. Hang in there, sisters and brothers, and take refuge in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Precious and loving God, we give thanks for your plans for us. In times that seem hopeless, you tell us not to despair in our exile but to have hope. Yes, this is a difficult time, but you bring deliverance; you have plans for us. God, we confess we don't know what those plans are, how they will come about, or what they will look like but place our trust wholly in you. Please help us in the waiting, and when we grow weary, give us strength. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.