Here's one that will really throw you for a loop. We often use Jeremiah 29:11 as a nice happy verse to make people feel happy as they start something new like graduate high school or something. However, in context i think Jeremiah's words are a little more challenging.
See... the King of Babylon had taken the people of Israel captive. In fact Jeremiah 27 tells us that the LORD told Jeremiah to tell the people to make yokes for themselves because they WERE going to be delivered into the hands of Babylon as slaves.
Then chapter 28 interrupts what God is saying with a false prophet named Hananiah who said that they would only be in bondage for a little while but that God was going to break the yoke of bondage over them... but it wasn't true. Yes, God was going to break the yoke of slavery and restore the people unto himself... but not on man's clock... only on His own.
So Hananiah got axed by the Lord (jake's paraphrase) and then we come to Jeremiah 29 and he is writing to all those who are in exile and waiting on the Lord to rescue them... that is when Jeremiah writes what we read in chapter 29 verse 11.... God is telling His people, through Jeremiah, "I am doing this... you will be given over to Babylon and it will be for 40 years... this is not a quick fix... but my plans are better than yours. And my ways are higher than your ways and I still love you even though you suffer now in the flesh..."
"... for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope..."
so... it doesn't blindly make us "feel good" but rather it points us, in our insecurity and in our having to stare face-to-face with the unknown, and helps us say, "Yes Lord! I trust You. That Your Glory and Will IS and WILL BE the BEST for me as well... even if I don't see it."
So... Amen! I celebrate the weight and power of the words of Jeremiah and what they mean for me and you that we can be confident in the unknowns of our futures because no matter what it looks like all around me, i can lean heavy on his right hand.... because he has good plans...
Alrighty...now i need lunch!