Rev Keith HallettFor I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29 v 11)

Jeremiah who wrote these words had had a very difficult time.

As God’s representative he had stood almost alone and faced real hostility. When he stood up for the truth he was abused by the authorities and almost lost his life. He complained to God that the people only wanted to hear comfortable things and that he was being punished for telling the truth. Today standing for the truth can still be hard. God stood with Jeremiah as he will stand with us and it was his talk with God in prayer that encouraged and sustained him.

Jeremiah had to stand and say that if you disobey God there will be consequences. It was very unpopular, as it is today. The consequences were a second invasion and the destruction of their nation. Only a few older people were left behind but the others were taken as slaves to another country. Today too many ignore God and there are consequences.

In the midst of the slavery the party line was that everything will be alright and we will all be back home soon. Jeremiah, left behind as one of the older people, had to echo God’s words and say that it was not true. They would have to stay and face the consequences but for those who would follow his way he said:

‘For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’.

God even gave them a time scale for when things would change and history shows that God kept his word and gave them a future and a hope.

This year will be a year of change, for some a year with difficulties and for others opportunities. Whatever path we walk let us hold firmly to the promises and allow God to encourage and sustain us as we talk with him. We will recognise that for others who do not there will sadly be consequences. May God bless you as you walk his path knowing that ‘We have God’s plans for a future and a hope.’