Stephen Lutz says that Jeremiah 29:11 is the most quoted/most popular verse among college students. It goes like this:
“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.”
Good stuff. Encouraging. But, too often we forget about 29:10
“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”
Exile. Dislocation. (Long) Suffering.
These always go together, and the mature person can hold them in tension. The exile and the return home. The seventy long years and the promise of rescue. The suffering and the hope.
Jeremiah lived a great life, but it is was only great because of the tremendous challenges he faced, and the faithfulness to God he demonstrated over a lifetime.
And may that be true of us as well.