Ask people what their favorite Bible verse is and you’ll get many responses. But certain verses will pop up frequently. One of these is Jeremiah 29:11, which says,
“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.”
There are so many rich truths embedded in this verse:
- “plans to prosper you” — God will meet all of your needs; our good God will take good care of you.
- “not to harm you” — God is not angry with you; He’s not out to hurt you, but to bless you.
- “plans to give you hope” — God does not want you overwhelmed and defeated; He’s there to help you.
- “and a future” — God has a destiny for you; there’s a glorious eternity ahead for believers.
Doesn’t that excite you? No wonder it’s called the Good News!
But there’s one tiny word in that verse that often gets overlooked– and yet God places so much importance on it that He repeats it three times for emphasis.
Did you catch it? Plans.
We often hear the phrase, “God has a plan for you,” and that’s certainly true. There is only one plan of salvation, and it’s for everyone.
But “plans” indicates something different. It’s in the plural form, meaning more than one.
“Wait a minute,” you say. “Are you telling me God’s got more than one plan for my life?”
Let me share from my own life to illustrate this.
When I was a young man (many decades ago), I received a call from God to serve as a teacher in a Christian school. God had delivered me from a deep-seated hatred for children (a fascinating story in itself, but I’ll have to save that for another post!), and now He opened up a full-time ministry to children. That soon expanded to include Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. I was excited to be fulfilling “God’s plan (singular) for my life.”
Fast forward several decades. I had been happily directing and teaching Vacation Bible School for 27 years…and I began getting a nudge in my spirit that I found unsettling. It seemed God was telling me to let go of it.
I protested. “But God, it’s your plan for me to minister to children!” Here I was, reminding the God Who knows all, as if He’d forgotten something…(I can be clueless sometimes).
Anyway, I had to admit it was getting harder than it used to be. We held our VBS in rustic campground buildings with no air-conditioning, and summer in late July can be brutally hot and humid where I live. My body wasn’t handling that as well as it used to. After teaching VBS for three hours, I would find myself collapsing at home utterly exhausted. And now God was saying, “Let it go.”
Being the spiritual giant that I am, guess what I did next? I resisted for three years (like I said…clueless sometimes). Eventually I figured out who was going to win this tug of war (hint: not me).
Fast forward again a few years. I had been happily directing and teaching Sunday School for 32 years…and I began getting that nudge again. “God, you’re kidding, right?”
Nope. Our pastor retired, and our new pastor believed children should be with their parents in the service, and that it was the parents’ responsibility to train up their children in the ways of the Lord,so…no more Sunday School.
Oh, well. I still had my ministry teaching in a Christian school, right?
You guessed it. Covid-19 came along, our enrollment dropped by a third, our preschool closed, and one more teacher had to be laid off…and with only one year left till retirement, my 43-year teaching career came to an abrupt halt.
Although it wasn’t totally unexpected, it still stunned me.
I grieved what I had lost.
In my distress I turned to God’s Word for comfort…and there was Jeremiah 29:11.
More than one.
“God, do you mean…?” Yes, He did.
Vacation Bible School was a plan. Sunday School was a plan. Christian school was a plan. Those were all seasons of my life, and God had a plan for each one. Now I am a senior citizen, in a new season of life…and God has a plan.
A new one.
I know you’re curious. What is it?
Well…you’re reading it.
In the midst of all the transitions and turmoil, God placed a new dream in my heart: this blog.
And He taught me something. You see, God has a plan for every season of your life. “For I know the plans I have for you…”
His plan for you might not be what it was yesterday. Perhaps, like me, you’re facing a season of change, of uncertainty. Perhaps your world has been turned upside down, like mine.
Don’t worry. God’s got you covered.
He has plans!
Has God been speaking to you through this post? Drop a comment in the box below. I’d love to hear from you!