Jeremiah 29:11-13 (ESV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
One of the most puzzling things about the Bible is that it seems to teach that opposite things are true at the same time. This is because God’s truth is so profound, human language cannot fully explain it, so it sometimes appears contradictory. So, we have many passages in the Bible that say that we are so dead in sin, that God has to unilaterally save us (such as John 6:44 & 65), and we do nothing. But many other passages urge us to make an effort to find God, including Isaiah 55:6 from last Sunday. Today’s reading from Jeremiah helps bridge the gap. Jeremiah is pointing out that God initiates redemption by giving the people a hopeful promise (29:11). Hearing that promise changes our hearts, so that we call on God and seek God (29:12-13). This has important implications for how we teach and reach others for Christ. We must always start with God’s promises, painting a picture of what God has planned for us, so as to help others desire to seek God.