Focus Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11
I cannot read this verse and not hear the voice of my colleague Rev. Anthony Tang. People often quote this verse as a verse of blessing. But Rev. Tang questions if people really understand the quote because of the context of the quote. The people must suffer first. The people must be in exile as servants to a foreign power. Yes, there is a promise that it will all work out in the end but it will not be an easy road to get there.
But for people who are suffering, or who are already on that difficult road, this is a passage of comfort. God knows what is ahead for us. God has good planned for us. It will work out in the end, even if it is difficult now.
But Rev. Tang is right about understanding all quotes in their context. Because that is what gives them meaning. It is only in context that we can understand what the prophet is trying to say.