We are fond of applying Jer 29:11 to our lives. With Israel in a tough spot, the Lord says, "I know the plans I have for you ..."
This chapter is like an apple of gold in a setting of rubble. The nation is warned of impending trouble by Jeremiah, the Lord's spokesman. The leaders of the day, on the other hand, are pontificating that things will be alright and claiming they have the word from the Lord.
The Lord tells His people to bloom where they are planted in verses 5-7:
Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have taken you. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
Then in verses 11 and 12 the Lord promises:
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. 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.
Notice that it is not "For I know the plans you have for you." It is not our plans, but His plans for us that He promises to prosper. Jesus helps us out with what those plans are. After He finished the requirements to usher in the New Covenant and had not yet ascended into Heaven, Jesus tells us His plans for us:
You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8 Also
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matt 28:19-20
And one more thing, Jesus adds, I am with you always.
How ready are we to abandon our agenda for are lives and adopt His agenda for our ultimate prosperity—not necessarily in this life, but the next?
Nelson Malwitz, May 2009