When my Grandchildren come over we love to play “hide and seek”. (The ones under 5 years old are not always super hard to find, by the way.) There is something delightful about having someone looking for you, isn’t there? There’s a sense of anticipation during the search, and there are screams of laughter when someone gets found. We may think that seeking someone is just a childish game, but there is really way more to it than that.
If you haven’t noticed yet, in our devotional series since Easter we have been reading through every book in the Bible. Here on Day 25 we find ourselves in Jeremiah: “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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV).
He Wept for a Reason
Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, and he preached in a time of upheaval and conflict. He didn’t sugar-coat the word of God, and he didn’t just tell people what they wanted to hear. Jeremiah was judged harshly by his audience. He was thrown into a muddy pit and ridiculed by all who passed by. He lived in difficult times, and predicted some terrible things ahead for Israel. In 1:14, he said, “calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land.” In 4:7, he predicted, “The lion has come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of nations is on his way. He has gone forth from his place to make your land desolate.”
If you read all the way through Jeremiah you might understand why his congregations wanted to throw him in a pit! His preaching was full of doom, gloom and disaster. But in the midst of his dire warnings about the coming judgment there is this comforting promise in 29:11, which speaks of hope and restoration. I have seen this verse quoted many times, and in fact it is displayed on the wall above the door to our garage, so we see it every time we go out.
A Light in the Darkest Night
It is one of my favorites because it reveals the nurturing side of the Lord’s character, the one that focuses on love and redemption. God has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. Just don’t forget to add verses 12 and 13. “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.” (The Italics for emphasis are mine).
Everybody claims verse 11; not everybody bases their answer on the rest of the equation. God’s promise is extended to those who call on Him and pray to Him. We are promised we will find God if we seek him with our WHOLE heart. This thought is echoed in Hebrews 11:6, which says that God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Not feeling as close to God as you’d like? Seek Him. Call upon His name. Pray earnestly to the Lord. Don’t be half-hearted in your search. And what, pray tell, does he say will happen if you seek Him with your whole heart? You will find Him: BOOM!
Jeremiah 29:11 And More
Ever feel that’s God’s not real, or He is far away?
Does it seem your words don’t matter, sometimes, when you pray?
God says, “I have plans for you, and I will help you cope;
If you seek me, you will find that I’m the God of hope!
If you want to find me, here’s the way to make a start:
Come to me in faith, and look for me with all your heart!
You’ll discover all my love, for I have plans for you:
Plans to give you hope today, and for your future, too.”
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