What You Never Knew About Jeremiah 29:11

Put the famous verse in context, and amazing things happen…

Aaron Charles
4 min readFeb 26, 2016


It’s one of the most famous verses in the Bible, but I wonder how long it’s been since you read the rest of the chapter. I just did, and here’s what I found…

I don’t know what the future holds. Neither do you. We’re constantly going through life making plans and setting goals. That’s great! But deep down, we all have this fear about the future.

That’s why so many have found comfort in Jeremiah 29:11. I have too. In fact, it’s my Dad’s life verse. We see it on cards, and we tweet it.

“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.”

That sounds great! And it is…in the right context.

I just got done reading the rest of the chapter before that verse. I encourage you to do the same. Why?

Because you will find that sometimes welfare and hope aren’t what we think they should be.

This chapter is written to people in exile. They had been ripped from their homes and families. They were in an unknown land. Not exactly what you would call the most hopeful situation.

God tells them to build houses, get married and have children — to live their lives. Then, He drops this bombshell in verse 7:

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Does being in exile sound hopeful to you? I‘m not so sure that I’d actively seek the welfare of the city that ripped me from my homeland. But that’s what God tells them to do.

Jump to verse 10:

For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

Ok, but what if you’re an 80 year-old? You’re not going to be around when that 70 years is up…



Aaron Charles

Christ-follower. Husband to @SarahLCharles. Simple moments hold great power. Connect with me at my website: www.aarondcharles.com