Hope When Life Feels Hopeless
By Jennifer Slattery
“‘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.’” Jeremiah 29:11
When life gets hard and dreams fail, I need to know God has a plan, one that is good and full of hope. There are days when I cling to the assurance that this life isn’t all there is. That pain will end, love will conquer evil, and the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will defeat, completely, all that maims and destroys.
In those moments, God’s promise recorded in Jeremiah 29:11, spoken to the ancient Israelites, comforts me. I imagine it did them as well.
As God’s chosen people, they’d really messed up. Under their king David and his successor Solomon, the nation’s second and third kings, the people had flourished. But after Solomon’s death, idolatry replaced devotion to God and evil reigned. After nearly three hundred years’ of warnings, judgment had come. Babylon attacked, prevailed, took the Israelites captive, and carted them off, far from their beloved homeland.
The Israelites had lost everything, perhaps even the will to begin again.
They’d made stupid choices, behaved shamefully, and were experiencing the full consequences for their actions. If only they’d listened to the prophets, who’d urged them to repent again and again. If only they’d turned to God when given the chance ... Then perhaps they’d still be in Jerusalem, where God’s temple once stood tall and glorious and God’s presence dwelled among them.
They may have felt all hope was lost, but through an ancient prophet named Jeremiah, God promised that wasn’t true. God met them at their point of despair and told them He still had a plan for them—a good and loving plan.
God says the same to us. No sin is too dark, no life too broken, for God to redeem and restore.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, available for free (in ebook form) from Wholly Loved Ministries. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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