When I was in middle school, my mom bought me a decorative ceramic cross with Jeremiah 29:11 written in the center. Throughout high school and even college, the scripture verse became a source of comfort in the face of many unknowns. “God knows the plans for my life, so I don’t have to worry,” I reassured myself whenever I had a hard day. That cross hung in my room until I moved out of my parents’ house. When I left home I made sure to pack the colorful keepsake as a reminder of God’s promise for my future.
Jeremiah 29 is a message to the Exiles about their future in Babylon and beyond. Jeremiah tells them to build houses, marry, have children, and seek peace and prosperity in Babylon until they are restored to their homeland in 70 years. They are not just given the promise of restoration— they are given instructions on how to live as exiled people in Babylon.
In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Jeremiah 29, he explains, “Promises are given, not to supersede, but to quicken and encourage prayer: and when deliverance is coming we must by prayer go forth to meet it.” The promise for a hope and a future shouldn’t make us content, it should quicken us to seek God. The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 is a call to action rather than just a sentimental verse about our bright future. When we read beyond Jeremiah 29:11, we see another promise in verses twelve and thirteen: When we pray, He listens. When we look for Him wholeheartedly, we will find Him.
Here’s a prayer I’ve been praying in the troublesome days of our world. “Stir up my faith, God.”
We know the ultimate promise of God as believers is salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Bible says “all creation is groaning,” as we patiently await the second coming of our King. In our quest to follow God and know Him on a deeper level, it behooves us to read beyond the more familiar verses that have always brought us comfort and hope. Cling to the hope we find in Christ, but let that great hope also stir up our faith and prompt us to pray.
Recently I hung up that very same cross in my 4-year-old daughter’s room. When I hammered the nail to display the colorful keepsake, I couldn’t help but feel sentimental. The promise that gave me hope is now a display of hope for the next generation. When I read the passage that brought me hope for the future, now it beckons me to pray...
Stir up our faith, oh God! May your promises prompt us to seek your face.