Once years ago, at a time when there had been a big and rather unsettling change in my life, a friend sent me a frig magnet that said,
“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.” ~Jer 29:11 niv
I loved it. I thought, “Wow, what a beautiful promise! I never knew that verse was in the Bible.” I looked it up, and then I realized why I hadn’t recognized it. In the King James Version, it’s put this way:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. ~Jer 29:11 kjv
I had never zeroed in on that verse as a great promise because an “expected end” doesn’t exactly present the same word picture as “a hope and a future.” In fact, if it hadn’t just said peace and not evil, the term “expected end” would definitely tend to bring up some rather sinister overtones in my mind!
It was the first time I realized how much difference could be made by the tone and word choice of a translation. In the days after, I read that magnet every day and quickly memorized it. It’s been a verse that has popped into my mind countless times since, and I still love it.
Last week I was listening to Kay_Arthur and she quoted these verses.
For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.’ ~Jer 29:10-13 nasb
It’s amazing that in all the times I had said that verse to myself, I really had never thought about the context. God was promising that yes, there was a good ending in store, BUT… after seventy years of exile in Babylon!
It’s such a good reminder that we need to look at life from God’s perspective. To us, seventy years is a lifetime–it’s huge. To God, seventy years is just a blip on the screen, a short interval after which he has other plans.
Yes, I still think I can claim that promise, that he is planning a hopeful future for me, but I need to remember that God doesn’t look at things in my time frame, but through his own wide-angle lens that knows no time limitations.