Jeremiah 29:11. The official verse of graduation. Even though it is used all the time, it is still a great verse. Here’s what it says in the ESV:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

To me, it is one one the most encouraging verses in the Bible.  It is faith and hope to me. Think about it more than just the encouragement that God has plans for us now. God had a plan for me long before that.

Have you ever gotten into the car with your spouse or a friend to go get something to eat and you sit in the car and say, “Ok where do you want to eat?” There is definitely something fun about the spontaneity of that moment, but have you ever had dinner plans where everything was well thought out? You knew where you were going, you dressed up for it, it wasn’t your run of the mill chain down the street, but a special meal, a special dinner? You approach those two differently. One is a plan designed in the heat of the moment. The other is a plan that creates excitement for the moment it comes to pass.

That second one  is how God planned us. It wasn’t a spur of the moment, “Oh there’s Jason, let’s figure out something for him to do.” God thought about my life. He carefully designed my steps. God had a plan for me before he said “let there be light.” That means a lot. I wasn’t an afterthought. I was intentional.

My goodness do some of us need to hear that. Friend, we were more than created for purpose, we were created on purpose. God, the one who created the entire universe, wanted us. That means a lot.

What’s more is that it means he had faith in me from the beginning. Form the very beginning, not of me but of time. God created this unbelievable plan for my life and then waited the course of human history for my life to begin, having faith in me that when I was able to understand, that I would come to know him and embrace his will for my life. I have faith in God, but he had faith in me first.

And as if it couldn’t get better, his hope in me is unbelievable. Even when I have doubted, God believed in me, thought the best about me. God has always been the first one to believe in me. He thinks that much of me, to establish a plan for me, to believe in me, to have faith in me, to place his hope in me to fulfill that purpose of made for me.

That does something in me. It gives me faith in him and in his plan. It gives me hope that even when things aren’t the best, that he has me and will see me through. It gives me hope in his ability and faith that he will see what he began in me through to completion. Talk about being encouraged! But here’s even more encouragement: God is no respecter of persons, so if all of this is true in my life, and it is, it is true in yours as well.

While we love to quote Jeremiah 29:11, most people don’t know Jeremiah 29 :10. See, in verse 29 there is the word “For.” It qualifies what comes after the for to address the truth that came before the for. Here’s what God told Jeremiah:

“You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.”

Some of us are in a situation where we would love to have hope in God’s plan and faith that he will see it through, but life just doesn’t seem to be cooperating. You may have an idea of what purpose looks like in your mind, but all you can see is the mess around you.  Jeremiah was 70 years in Babylon. 70 years in captivity. You may feel like that as well. But friend, God is not caught off guard by life’s curves. Your experiences aren’t news to him. I don’t know why we have to go through the things we go through, but there is one thing I am confident in: if you feel like you are Jeremiah in Babylon, take heart, because there is going to be a moment when God is going to come and do for you all the good things he has promised you, and he’ll bring you home again. You know why? It’s simple.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Take heart. Hold on. Have faith and hope in God. He has faith and hope in you.