For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. // Jeremiah 29:11
The prophet Jeremiah lived around 650-570 BC and is known as “the weeping prophet.” As the author of three heavy books of the Bible (1 & 2 Kings, Jeremiah, and Lamentations), his message is not always an easy one.
The first and second books of Kings are about Israel’s division as well as the captivity and exile of the people of Israel and Judah. In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet urges the people to repent, but his message falls on deaf ears. Lamentations comes after Jeremiah and tells the story of Jerusalem’s destruction and the suffering of the Israelites.
So where does hope come in? What makes Jeremiah a prophet on the message of joyful expectation? Well, to start, he is a prophet immersed in the reality of the human condition. As descendants of Adam and Eve, we suffer the consequences of Original Sin, whether this be exile from our country or crosses like job loss, infertility, or illness. God doesn’t promise us that our journey toward Heaven will be easy, but he does promise that He will be with us. Even Jesus wept sorrowfully over the death of Lazarus and sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yet in each of these instances, Jesus knew He was not alone. In the same way, God remains with us.
We will never get a step ahead of the Lord, but even amidst the tremendous suffering that Jeremiah witnesses, even he speaks of the Lord’s good plans. “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
The word “oracle” comes from the Latin word for “divine announcement.” Jeremiah isn’t there to give a false message to make you feel warm and fuzzy; he is a prophet of the Lord, and he offers words of wisdom that we can cling to.
Let Us Pray
Lord God, we know that You have plans for a future full of hope in our lives. Please help us to cling to hope in You and Your promise, so that nothing would derail us from following You wholeheartedly. Amen!
What "divine announcement" is the Lord making in your life right now?
In what ways have you "given up hope" for you future. How is God inviting you into a newness of hope in that arena?