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
“Row harder! More to the left! Don’t stand up! Just be careful!” Who hasn’t heard all these instructions as you began your first solo voyage in a kayak? You might have been feeling a little nervous, but then just as you launched out, barely ten feet from the shore it seems you were sinking under waves of advice.
The Jewish people as they arrived in their new home in Babylon were in very much the same situation. Some people were so depressed they just literally wanted to hang up their harps and give up. There were also some “Prosperity prophets” around telling the people to cheer up because God was going to destroy Babylon any minute and they would soon be back in their own land (PS send a big offering to me) Last of all, there were folks with their hands just itching to pull out their swords because they hated the foreign rulers and wanted revenge. With so many voices pushing and pulling at them many ordinary people were plenty confused.
That was exactly when God sent Jeremiah with this word of encouragement and guidance. No matter the situation you are facing today, the first person to listen to is God! Only God knows the plan. He knows which way to go and how long it will take to get there. But the best part is that no matter how far we have to go, He does not just want to tell us the way. His desire is to get right in the boat with us and help with the rowing. He already knows the way but we need to be willing to listen and if we ask he’ll pick up the oars and go with us to the other side!