When the apostle Paul was imprisoned for proclaiming the gospel, he was no doubt feeling a bit down and discouraged. Perhaps he was wondering if he would ever be released. Then Jesus came to him with these words: “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome” (Acts 23:11).
Paul could take comfort that there was a future for him because Jesus said, “You must also bear witness in Rome.” They wouldn’t kill him. He was still to bear witness in Rome. He had a future.
One of my favorite verses about God’s future for each of us is in the book of Jeremiah: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
It is worth noting that these words were given to Israel when they were in captivity in Babylon. They had lost hope. They saw no future, and felt as if God had forgotten about them. But the Lord was saying to them (and us too), “I have not forgotten you, and there is a future!”
Note that God does not say, “I know the thoughts that I have thought toward you.” Rather, He says, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you.”
Now it would be wonderful enough to know that God ever thought of me as an individual. But it is not something God has merely done in the past. It is something He is doing in the present and will continue to do in the future.
Know this: God is thinking about you right now! He is not thinking about you merely as a member of the human race. He is thinking about you as an individual.
Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be counted to You in order. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”
Think about that! God Almighty, the One who holds the heavens in the span of His hand, the One who spoke and creation came into being, is thinking about you right now.
Jeremiah 29:11 speaks of a future. Now the word used here for future could be translated “an expected end.” Another translation describes it as “a ground of hope” or “things hoped for.”
There will be an outcome in your life, regardless of what you are going through at present. There will be completion. God will tie up the loose ends. You are still a work in progress. God is still finishing you, so don’t be impatient. Don’t feel it’s over, just because you are not where you want to be yet.We see only the beginning. God sees “the expected end” and it is good! God still had a future for Paul, just as He does for you.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.