Jeremiah 29: 10-11 “This is what the Lord says, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 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.”
This passage from the book of Jeremiah is rich with meaning and can be taken in many different ways. God may choose to speak to us in this passage and the meaning may manifest uniquely for each person. The initial reference is to the Babylonian captivity of the people of Judah. This was an episode in the history of God’s people when they were chastened for disobedience. Nevertheless, in the same passage, God reminds us (his people) that He has good plans for us and has a future that is good.
What is important to take away from the reading can be this. God does have good plans for us. There are times of chastening for disobedience, but…that is not the end. In the end God has good for us.
Part of it requires our response to God and our seeking God’s will. That exercise can be different for different people, but there should be a few common themes. One is an intentional seeking, through prayer, service, community, connection and learning about God through His Word and His appointed teachers. A second is an intentional effort to apply those teachings in daily life and activities. Beyond that the manifestations in the lives of each person may differ. That is up to God’s design. Our role is to seek intentionally and act.
Also, there is a concept of timing and God’s timing. In our contemporary view, a period of seventy years seems very long indeed. Many individual human lives do not even reach a span of seventy years. So is there any meaning in this? Perhaps. A meaning is that God has a timing prescribed for things He will do in our lives and the lives of others. We can seek, act and have faith. Once we have done that we have to let God do the rest. Frankly, the results of our seeking are not as important as the act of seeking. This is what God desires. God is good and as we seek, He will reveal to us His timing in these things…just as He did to Jeremiah. Also, God will give us the patience, perspective and resources to persist with His timing in the things He will do. As this happens, especially if there is a waiting period and perhaps what some observers would view as “uncertainty” a good thing happens to us. That thing is spiritual growth and a strengthening of our trust, faith, resolve and ability to meet God on God’s terms (not ours) and yield to His purpose and plans. As that happens, and when God does reveal Himself to us in advancements or our cause (again, as God defines it, not us) and allows us to see what He is doing, there can be great joy and a “peace that passes all understanding.”
In the end we can remember that whatever our circumstances, God does love us and has a good plan for us. The passage of Scripture makes this very clear.