Jeremiah 29:11 had always been my favorite verse growing up.
I clung to its promise of prosperity and good fortune like an pubescent girl with a bad case of acne and extra pounds around her thighs. I wrote the verse with a sparkly purple gel pen on yellow construction paper and hung it at the foot of my bed, so it was the first thing I’d see every morning. No matter how bleak the day looked, I knew it was going to be ok because I had Jeremiah 29:11 telling me so.
But here’s the thing: we take that verse (and many others) out of context to provide pat answers when things get rough. We write it in graduation cards and drink our morning chai from cups inscribed with that prophet’s words penned long ago, and we pretend that a short phrase can whisk all our problems away. But when Jeremiah delivered the message to the people, he was also telling them of the years of slavery that were awaiting them, the hard labor, and the many deaths that would come.
Life is hard.
And often unfair. Death comes to the woman’s house too soon, rendering her a widow. Jobs get yanked just when the bank account seemed to recover. Spouses cheat and kids rebel. Hospital bills pour in and collectors call incessantly. And in the midst of everyday life, it may seem like God’s not delivering on His promise, and we begin to question His character.
But look closer at the verse: God never promised us an easy path or a bed of roses.
God promised to be with us every step of the tumultuous journey (Deut 31:8).
He promised to make the bad things that happen work in us the character of Christ (Rom 8:28).
He promised to lead us to still waters even when we pass through the valley of death (Psalm 23).
He promised us an eternity with no more tears or sorrow (Rev 21:4).
God has a plan. We can trust Him.
And that, dear sisters, is why we have hope. Not because of a platitude written on a coffee cup but because of the faithfulness of a God who supersedes all our problems yet walks with us through the smallest detail.
When we don’t know what God’s up to, we rest in His character. He’s got us. That’s all the reassurance we need.
I am linking up for Five Minute Friday over at Kate’s place. If you’re part of the Five Minute Friday community and would like to be featured on FMF Video Intros, just sign up for an open time slot here.