• Richard Parrish

Who Knows The Plans For You?



“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” [1]

This passage of Scripture from Jeremiah is often misinterpreted.


Individuals who struggle are tempted to want to interpret “welfare” (or “prosper” as the NIV and other translations suggest) as a means to anticipate blessing, abundance, and prosperity, which in a consumerist society usually translate to bigger, better, and more.


Israel is in captivity, slaves to their Babylonian masters. Life is anything but pleasant. Existence is a struggle and hardships are an every-day-occurrence.


How do slavery, struggle, hardship, turmoil, and suffering have anything to do with “welfare or prosperity”?


What’s hard to get through our thinking is: The 70-year Exile was a part of God’s plan to give Judah hope and a future.


Why not the hope and future without 70 years of bondage?


I’m prone to want to go straight to the hope and future and by-pass the hardships. However, God’s plan is evidently different than mine. God understands: Like Israel, my heart is prone to stray from God.


It’s easy to be distracted. Whether it’s building ministries, advancing one’s career, or managing the family – it’s easy to be distracted from God’s desire that we stay connected with Him. Like Israel, we too can forget.


God’s plan is for our welfare. He understands all that we need to make us whole, complete, healthy, sound and secure. God’s idea of prosperity is often different than mine. It’s not about success, fame, or fortune.


When we are entirely “whole,” we are intimately connected with our Heavenly Father. All that matters is His purpose and desire. When God becomes first in everything we do; contentment, peace, rest, and sustainment are the fruit of that intimate bond with the Holy One.


If we’re struggling, it may be helpful for us to recognize that God has a plan for us. It’s not surprising that God’s plan includes suffering as an instrument to encourage us to return to Him.


God’s words to Jeremiah indicate that He alone knows the plan for Israel. I suspect that God alone knows the plan for you.


Here’s the question: Am I open to God’s plan?


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Je 29:11.