Jeremiah 29:11 contains a precious promise held dear by Christians the world over. It is also likely one of the most misapplied verses in all of Scripture. In this verse, Jeremiah affirms that God is in control, and moreover, He has good things in store: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Comforting words, to be sure. But what does Jeremiah mean? Some have taken this verse and applied it to themselves and others in an unqualified way. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life,” they say. “He has mapped out the course of your life, and you only have to be obedient to Him to step into His blessing.”
Some go further and say that this verse promises earthly prosperity. Health and wealth are the lot of Christians. We are not to settle for second best, for we are children of the King. In this view, suffering and deprivation signal a lack of faith.