We are looking today at the subject of forgiveness. To forgive a person who has hurt you deeply may be the greatest challenge you ever face and the greatest gift you ever give. Imagine standing right next to a hurdle on a racetrack. You are right up against it. You...
Who doesn’t want a happy and successful life? It’s what we love about the American Dream. Work hard enough and you can enjoy many prosperous and comfortable days. While there is nothing wrong with hard work and nice things, many who have faith in Jesus Christ have confused the plans that God has for us with the world’s definition of prosperity. We then get discouraged when life is hard, and God’s plans don’t seem good.
Recently, my family experienced some devastating events that have resulted in a drastically different outlook for the future than the one I had previously envisioned. Some good things I felt certain would be mine were suddenly wrenched out of my grasp. In these moments when I’m tempted to get discouraged about the evil I see prevailing in my own life, I’ve found I need to go back and take a good look at what God has revealed about his agenda for me in his word, the Bible.
The Right Context
Like many Christians, in hard times I have found myself considering Jeremiah 29:11, which says “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.” It is reassuring in the midst of trouble to know that God has a plan for us, and that it is a good one. But while these words written specifically to the exiled nation of Israel are not untrue regarding the modern day Christ-follower, stripped of their original context they can be confusing and unhelpful.
Furthermore, there is a danger in holding on to our own idea of what the Lord’s plans for our welfare, future, and hope include. Instead, we need to let the whole of God’s Word define his planned goodness to us. Our Lord has been very clear in the New Testament about his intentions regarding those who have come to faith in his Son. And as we continue to place our trust in him, we begin to see that these plans are deeper and more satisfying than even our own ideas about “the good life.”
The following 20 verses have helped me gain a clearer grasp of how God plans to provide for my welfare, future, and hope. They have changed my perspective on my circumstances and helped me to grow in gratitude for Jesus and the gospel of salvation that, by faith, has made these promises mine.
God’s Plan Regarding Your Welfare
1. The Lord will provide for your daily needs like food, housing, and clothing.
Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
2. The Lord will provide you with the help of the Holy Spirit, so you are never alone.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)
3. The Lord will provide you the way out of temptation.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
4. The Lord will provide you with his joy.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)
5. The Lord will provide you with what you need to do his will.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
6. The Lord will provide you with spiritual strength.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father…that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being. (Ephesians 3:14,16)
7. The Lord will provide you with eternal protection.
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
8. The Lord will provide you with great blessings that will correspond with things lost.
Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30)
9. The Lord will provide you with a chosen role in his body, the church.
But as it is, God arranged all the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. (1 Corinthians 12:18)
God’s Plan Regarding Your Future
10. The Lord promises that one day you will be with him.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:2-3)
11. The Lord promises that one day his work in you will be complete.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
12. The Lord promises that one day you will be like Jesus.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)
13. The Lord promises that one day you will see his face.
No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5)
14. The Lord promises that one day he will wipe away every tear from your eyes.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
God’s Plan Regarding Your Hope
15. The Lord gives you hope that you have a rich inheritance.
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:16-18)
16. The Lord gives you hope that the promise of the gospel is securely laid up for you in heaven.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel. (Colossians 1:3-5)
17. The Lord gives you hope that death is not the end.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
18. The Lord gives you hope that you are not destined for wrath, but salvation.
But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:8-10)
19. The Lord gives hope that you have been born again to a new life, one day to be revealed.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
20. The Lord gives hope that you have seen God manifest in Jesus.
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:21)
Everything We Need
Does this list encourage you? Indeed, in Christ, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). And he will continue to provide for us richly until the day we see him face to face in glory. Because we have been promised abundant and eternal life that is secure in heaven waiting for us, we can be confident that nothing that could bring us lasting eternal harm can touch us.
Personally, I know his agenda concerning me is good because he sent Jesus to earth to live and die and rise again so that, by faith, I might know him and be with him forever. While my circumstances may be painful, he is working out his desire that I grow up into the image of his Son, put off my old sinful destructive ways, and find my satisfaction in him above all else. The evil I see prevailing in my own life is an opportunity to hold tighter to these promises, longing for the day when all of God’s good plans will come to their righteous fulfillment.
In Jesus, our God has provided a way for us to live the life we were created for: to glorify and enjoy him forever. And that, my friends, is his truly good plan for our lives.