Waiting on Prosperous Plans,


BY KARA TRIBOULET

My husband and I recently planted grass in our yard. If you are unfamiliar with the process, it’s a pretty tedious project. But the main task of this project is to wait. You can’t do anything to add or take away from what you have planted or try to manipulate the process to make the grass grow faster. You simply have to wait and hope that you will see the results sooner than what Google predicts.

Waiting is seen as such a dreary thing to do. Waiting for your Starbucks order, waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting to be seated at a restaurant, waiting for that phone call that will tell you if you got the job or not.

When I tell someone I am waiting for something important or for some sort of direction in my life, I often hear the words from Jeremiah 29:11 quoted back to me: “‘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 a hope and future.’”

That verse has been a comfort for millions of Christians all over the world. Wow, God knows the plans for me and these plans he has are for my good.

But when you take a good look at that passage in scripture, there is a very important layer that nobody really talks about.

Here is the passage in context:

“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 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 a hope and future.’” Jeremiah 29:10-11

Let’s read that again, and this time, we’ll highlight something that doesn’t usually get placed on a graduation card.

“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 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 a hope and future.’” Jeremiah 29:10-11

Whoa, hold on a second. Seventy years. In all of those well-wishes and good lucks, I was never told I would have to wait to see God’s plans for me.

I wholeheartedly believe that when people have quoted this verse to me as an encouragement, they weren’t trying to be deceptive. This verse is just misunderstood. This declaration from God is a response to the disobedient, idolaters, Israel, who were going to have to suffer the consequences of their unfaithfulness to God before entering into prosperity and hope. We seldom think about that context as we purchase that Hobby Lobby pallet with this verse printed in cursive and painted with roses.

We quote Jeremiah 29:11, process it through our American, instant-gratification minds and think God is going to shower us with all of his promises immediately, or at least somewhere tucked into our five-year plan. And when he doesn’t, it’s His fault. He broke his promise. We question Him and we question if we even have a purpose. We set ourselves up for failure when we misinterpret the God we serve.

This is not coming from a pastor preaching biblical hermeneutics, waving the Bible in your face and telling you you’re wrong. This is a sister begging another sister to explore the accurate character of our gracious Father who sometimes asks us to go through the valley before we reach our glorious future.

God is faithful and he does know the plans he has for you. But God doesn’t operate based on what we think is best for us. These are His plans for me, not my plans for me. And His plans are always better and give us more hope than any of our plans can give us, even the genuinely good plans.

Maybe waiting should be seen as something good instead of something to avoid. In waiting, we trust the process. In waiting, we trust our good Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children. Maybe waiting means allowing God to refine us by not searching for when the waiting stops but just falling deeper in love with Him.

So before you add this verse to your Instagram bio or get it tattooed on your wrist, really reflect on the weight of what you are saying.

Seventy years from now, I’ll be 92 years old. Think about that. How old will you be?

The next time you read or hear Jeremiah 29:11, ask yourself: Am I willing to wait that long to see the goodness of the Lord? Am I willing to walk faithfully with Him, knowing that maybe I won’t even live to see my persistent prayers answered?

Trust His plans for you and go deeper than you ever have with Him as you wait.

Sincerely, Kindred