11 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 hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
So I know this passage was not written for me, or anyone else who would like to adopt it as their own personal motto. It was written for some Israelites that had been banished from their hometown, or at least that’s my understanding of it. I am far from a theologian on such matters. I just thought I would read the entire chapter tonight because whenever something is wrong, people always like to quote Jeremiah 29:11 like it was written just for them.
The thing is…well, I guess we all wish it was written just for us, don’t we? There are so many people out there like me – jobless, practically penniless, living with friends and family. We’d like to have some promise, some hope, to cling to, and Jeremiah 29:11 is just so poetic. It’s a pretty thought when all you have to compare it to is the multitude of ugliness in this world.
I’m not trying to say I don’t believe God can bring us back from the brink of despair anymore. I truly believe He can. He has brought me “out of captivity” (often of my own making) time and again. I just think it’s a bit arrogant to pick and choose verses & passages out of the Bible to call our own without at least looking into the history around them. This passage in Jeremiah, for example, is actually rather brutal. It really goes into how God will get the Israelites back to their home, but also how He will punish the people who banished them.
In my own search for stability, I’m not looking for anyone to get punished in order for me to establish a home for my son and me. I feel like what I want in life right now is simple. I just want to find a job – any job – and a cheap apartment (to be furnished with thrift store furniture) to call our own. I have applied at casinos, fast food restaurants, retail stores, offices, government jobs, and more. I have gone out to do what people call “leg work.” I go out with a smile on my face, dressed nice, clean, and I am friendly. I just don’t understand why it’s so difficult to find a job these days.
But…if God has a plan for me, I really would like to see something happen sometime soon. I’m not asking what the plan is, or why it’s His plan for me. I really don’t need to know. But, as they say, something’s got to give.