A commonly quoted verse (especially in youth ministries) 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." It is usually shared in the context of the great plans that God has for each of us and to encourage people to trust in God's will and direction for our lives.
This morning I am struck by another thought in my reading. This verse is more than just waiting for God to reveal His great plan to us. It is a challenge to have the bold faith to ask God for something magnificent and powerful in our lives. It should direct us to ask the question of what we are truly hoping for from God. This is something that takes faith and vision on our part.
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons that we (as pastors) can teach the church is to have a hope for the future in Jesus Christ. Not just a hope for heaven once this life here is done, but a hope for great things from God now. A hope for our children, marriages, finances, careers, relationships, churches and more. I think this must be constantly taught because too few people understand the vision of this concept (including me.)
Rod Parsley in his book Ancient Wells, Living Water puts it this way:
"Most people don't have a future, because they have no hope; they only have a prolonged today. They live in what I call the 'someday syndrome.' In order to have something you've never had before, you must do something different than what you're doing right now. God-given hope sees your tomorrows as different from your today!"