“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 a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
Guidance is all about the future. So, it’s hugely encouraging to read this Scripture, powerfully affirming that God has plans for His people – plans to give them a hope and a future. He wants to hear and answer our prayers and show us where to put our feet down and guide us on our journey through life.
The words of our Scripture were originally spoken to God’s people when they were in exile in Babylon. They had been in rebellion against God, lost their protection and had been taken prisoner. They had ceased to listen to God’s voice, had gone their own way and were now suffering the consequences of their mistakes. They were a long way off track.
It was into this situation that God sent His prophet Jeremiah to speak encouragement and to tell them that, in spite of the mess they were now in, God still had plans for them. He still loved them, His eye was still on them and He wanted to lead them back home and into their eventual destiny as God’s chosen people.
But how could He do that? How could God guide and direct His people when they were in such a devastating situation? The key lies in the last sentence of our Scripture, where God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
All journeys have a beginning and this is how we begin when we are looking to God for guidance and direction in our lives – a determination to seek the Lord with all our heart. When we do that, God promises to listen to our prayers and to start showing us His plans – plans that will give us hope and lead us into the future that He has prepared for us.
If that is something that God could do for His people when they were still prisoners in physical captivity, no-one could ever say that their situation was too difficult for Him or beyond His capacity to help. We are all included in the plans and purposes of God if we want to be.
Many people don’t feel free to follow God’s guidance and direction because they are still prisoners to their past. Some have been so hurt by things that have happened to them that they feel God has overlooked them and they are unworthy of His love. Others are not able to seek God with all their heart because they are guarding ungodly things in their heart that they want to hang on to, or secrets they are ashamed of.
From God’s point of view, none of these things, or many other possible obstacles, can ever turn His heart away from the people He created and loved. Every single one of us can come to God without fear and with an open heart to receive His direction. His plans are to prosper our lives and not to harm us!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that Your love for me is unconditional. I want to seek You with all my heart. Help me to face the reality of anything hidden that needs to come into the light and to forgive those who have hurt me so that I can start to trust again. Lord, I come to You with everything I am and pray that You will show me Your plans for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.