"For I know the plans I have for you, 'declares the Lord', "plans for good and not calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
A great evangelistic lead-in is found in Campus Crusade's Four Spiritual Laws. Law number one is "God loves you and has a plan for your life." We all want to feel that we have significance--that our life counts. We also want to feel that life is not random--that there is purpose in creation. Such a feeling is built in to us. All people need at least three things in order to enjoy life: 1)Something to do. 2)Someone to love. 3) Something to look forward to. The passage in Jeremiah 29:10-14 gives us those three needs.
No matter what our age, background, training, education, or abilities God has something for us to do. He made you for something. It may take awhile to find out what it is. Noah was 500 years of age before he knew that God plan for him was to build an ark. It may happen when we are very young. Samuel was just 12 when the Lord spoke to him and called him begin his prophetic duties.
The passage in Jeremiah takes place while God's people are in exile. You may feel that your life is out of kilter and far from the Lord. You may be experiencing sickness, financial hardship, family problems, spiritual malaise, or sinfulness but God has not forgotten you. Hear what He says to those in exile: "For thus says the Lord,...'I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this good place."(Jer. 29:10) God is saying that you may be in what seems to be a bad place but you will not be there forever. He is giving you His word--His promise that better days are ahead. He will bring you back to the place where you will find your purpose.
His plans for you are good plans. He is able to make good out of everything(Romans 8:28). When Joseph's brothers, who had sold him into slavery, were asking for forgiveness, he said, "You meant it for evil but God meant it for good."(Genesis 50:20) What you are now going through may seem bad but the Lord can and will use it to accomplish His purpose for you and His Kingdom. His plans also include a future and a hope. tomorrow will be better. We can be sure that even the worst of things--even our death--results in resurrection if our faith is in Christ. We can look forward to a future here on earth and an even better one when we are in Heaven.
Ultimately our hope is in Him. He is our Someone to love. He says, "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you."(Jer. 29:12,13) All of His plans for us--all of the great future He has for us--all of our hope is in Him. When we are "in Christ" we have all we really need. The goal of it all, what we were made for, and what we really need is to have intimacy with God through Jesus Christ. He has given us His word. Claim it and count on it.