5 Hope-Filled Lessons Jeremiah 29:11 Has Taught Me
Jeremiah 29:11 has long been my favorite Bible verse—since my college FOCUS Bible study days. As devotees of this beautiful verse know well, it offers blessed insights into trusting God’s plan and living hopefully.
Lovely lessons abound in the short Scripture where God’s hope-filled plans for us are spelled out:
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.
Here are a few thoughts on what God wants us, particularly young women, to know about his good plans from my new book, The Plans God Has for You: Hopeful Lessons for Young Women.
Heart of Happiness
Above all, God wants us to trust him and his good plans. “That’s the heart of Jeremiah 29:11: putting your trust in God, the true source of happiness and the answer to every question and longing in your heart, from waiting for Mr. Right to developing true friendships and choosing a career.”
Direction for Discernment
Do you have trouble making decisions or discerning decisions? Understand that God wants what is best for you and wants you to be at peace. “Don’t worry about how long it takes you to discern or if you change your mind. Let go of the idea that forgoing one dream for another is wrong. Lots of people who end up doing great things once planned different goals for their lives—but if they had kept going with that first plan, their greatest achievements, discoveries, or masterpieces would never have been accomplished. If John Paul II had chosen acting, for example, the Church (and the world) would not be what it is today. If St. John Paul II could change his goals through discernment to beautiful results, we shouldn’t be afraid to either. The fruit of discerning God’s will is peace.”
Hope & Happily Ever After
Living hopefully also includes matters of the heart. Jane Austen’s novels attest to God’s plans for love, rooted in Godly living. “Jane Austen has provided us with great examples of true heroines: women who wait for true love. … These classic reads … emphasize that virtue is the key to real love.”
Guide to Hope
Keeping close to Jesus helps us understand that God is our tour guide to hope. “If we put Christ first in our lives, we are truly living God’s plan for us, our personal guide to hope. That is the purpose of a 29:11 life.”
Trust God With the Future
As the four last words of Jeremiah 29:11 attest, God promises us “a future with hope.” The way will not always be easy, but God will always be beside us, helping us along our personal journeys. God “promises you that he has your future in his hands.”
That’s the heart of Jeremiah 29:11: “He is indeed our guide to hope! That’s because, in loving Jesus, we come to understand that God’s plan promises you and me that everything is ‘for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’”
Amy Smith is associate editor of the National Catholic Register, a service of EWTN, where she edits features and likes to write about everything from hope and saints (her favorites are Thérèse and Gianna) to Jane Austen. She is the author of the new book The Plans God Has for You: Hopeful Lessons for Young Women (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2020). She is a FOCUS student alumna who led a Bible study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign/St. John’s Catholic Newman Center.