Happy Friday! I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family and friends, as well as some great food. (I made this chocolate pie with this homemade graham cracker crust, and it was amazing! #notsohumblebrag) This is the final post of our "Assurance" series; I hope it's challenged you to go deeper in your faith and memorize some of God's greatest promises to us. I haven't decided what our next SOAP study will be (maybe Assurance: Part 2?!), but be sure to subscribe to my email list (if you haven't yet!) so you'll be the first to know about what we'll be studying next. Thank you so much for reading along -- I'm really grateful for each of you! xo
Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11
The promise: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”
Observation: Jeremiah spoke to the people of Judah, who would be exiled to Babylon for 70 years. However, God promised to return the exiled people to their home in Judah and to allow them to prosper.
Application: We’ll make millions of decisions throughout our lifetime. From small decisions like what to eat for breakfast to big decisions like who to marry, our lives become a culmination of “yes’s” and “no’s” that shape and create who we are, what we do, and what legacy we’ll leave. While there are litanies of considerations to factor into our decision-making process, we typically make decisions based on two things: comfort and control.
As humans, we default to being comfortable and maintaining control. We live life close-fisted in an effort to protect and provide for ourselves.
But when we give our lives to Jesus, we suddenly find that our default is broken. We can’t receive everything he has for us when we’re still trying to remain comfortable and in control of our own lives.
When we put our faith in Jesus, we’re asked to live life with open hands, grasping tightly only to the hope we have in our Savior.
And how terrifying that can be at times.
When life is out of our control – when we don’t know what will happen with that relationship, when we’re unsure of how we’ll make ends meet, when we can’t seem to break an addiction, when we face sickness and depression and death – we can be paralyzed by the unknown.
Which is why this final promise – the one that can seem cliché, as we plaster it on coffee mugs and notepads and Bible covers and living room walls – provides us deep, life-giving assurance.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”
God made a promise to the people of Judah, and he makes the same promise to us, too: I can see your future, and it’s a good one. With me as your God, you will prosper. I have good plans for you.
He has good plans for us, plans that are infinitely better than anything we could ever devise or imagine on our own.
“Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” (Psalm 40:4-5)
No circumstance – no illness or break-up or failure or issue or confrontation or addiction or fear – determines your future. The Lord your God, who made you and created you and loves you deeply, determines your future – and it’s a prosperous one, full of good and hope.
What sweet assurance.
Prayer: God, I speak the truth of Jeremiah 29:11 over my life today. I praise you for creating a future for me that’s far better than any future I could create for myself, and I pray that you will be ultimate hope, my anchor, and my assurance. Amen.
Digging Deeper: Take a few minutes to memorize today's focus verse. Write it on a sticky note to put on your car dashboard or mirror, set it as the lock screen on your phone, say it aloud a few times throughout the day -- whatever will help make it stick.