Let us not forget that when God said to his children…
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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
… it is because, in effect, he said the exact opposite to his Son:
For I know the plans that I have for you, my Son:
to be delivered over to the hands of evil men
to be beaten so bad you can scarce be recognized
to be despised, rejected, filled with sorrows and griefs
to be neglected in your sufferings, forgotten by your friends, and denied by your brothers
to bear the pain and sufferings, sin and iniquity of others
to be beaten, spit upon, slapped and mocked
to be pierced through with spears, nails and thorns
to be slaughtered and left to bleed to death
this is the plan that I have for you, my Son.
(Acts 2:23; 4:28; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Luke 22-23)
We don’t claim the promise of Jeramiah 29:11ff lightly. When God made this promise to his children, he knew exactly what it would cost and what he would have to do.
God’s goal of a future filled with welfare, hope and no evil is not some trite thing to claim when we’re looking for a job and really want God to give us money. It’s not something we simply claim when a relationship fails and we really hope God pulls through and brings us someone else. When God planned and carried out the crushing of his Son (Isa 53:10) he had something vastly greater in mind than your temporal economic and emotionally stability in mind. If all your “future” concerns things in this life, then you do not understand the promise of Jeramiah 29:11. When God crushed his Son it was so that you would have an eternally stable condition, even in the midst of financial and emotional instability – even in the midst of having your life being completely ruined.
I have hope that I will make it through the times of instability not becuase God will simply meet my temporal needs. I have hope that even if God chooses not to meet my temporal needs and let me go hungry, that I will still be ok – I will be fine even if God lets me die. That’s the hope of Jeramiah 29:11. I have hope because when God crushed his Son, he secured an indestructible future for me on the other side of this life. When God raised his Son up from the dead he showed that not even the most brutal slaughter has power over keeping me from enjoying life in the presence of God forever.
God knows the plans of welfare and hope that he has for your life – and we’re fools to think that that promise terminates here in this life.