One of my favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11.
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. (NIV)
What I love about this passage is in the original Hebrew language it uses the word “shalom” to describe God’s plan. Shalom is one of those words that is packed full of meaning. It means peace, welfare, goodness, prosperity, total and complete wellbeing all in a single word. Imagine that! God’s will for you is goodness, welfare, peace, prosperity, complete and entire wellbeing. “God’s will” is a verb — it’s an action word. So, God is enforcing goodness, health, and wellbeing in your life.
When Jeremiah, the prophet, spoke this message to the people of Judah who were exiled in Babylon, it was a much needed message of hope. After the tumultuous events of 587 BCE including the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the Babylonian conquest of Judah, God’s promise was that God would restore the land and abundance, God would return the people to their home and out of exile, and there would be joy and celebration. It didn’t look like there was peace, but this message assured them that that was indeed God’s plan and so it came true.
This message is true for you, too! One time when I was feeling anxious about the future, I remembered this passage and God’s promise. This reminded me that God is in charge and God’s will is only good. God didn’t cause me to feel anxiety or doubt about my future, and I could overcome these thoughts by trusting God’s presence and power. I felt such a sense of peace and an assurance that God, good, was with me.
So the next time you are tempted to doubt or despair, know that God is not out to get you. Instead trust and remember that God’s plan for you is shalom — goodness, joy, peace, health, prosperity, and wellbeing, and God is willing this in your life!