Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Confession is good for the soul they say.
So let me confess that I am guilty of having taken the above verse totally out of it's context in order to apply my own meaning to it.
The obvious question that follows is: what is the context?
In brief, Jerusalem has been destroyed and those who have not been killed are now captives in Babylon. The really frightening thing is that Verse 4 of this same chapter tells us that God orchestrated this!!!!!
Which brings us to the word "thoughts".
I can imagine that the majority of Israel were saying either out loud or to themselves: God, what on earth were you thinking to allow this to happen to us?
This passage is riddled with seeming contradiction and tension. If you take the time to read it you will see what I mean.
Unfortunately, every time I have plucked this verse out of Scripture to soothe my own experience of contradiction and tension I have left behind the contradiction and tension that is at the heart of this passage.
The word thought means: device, plan, purpose or invention. No real surprises there.
However, the word pictures yield the following meaning: when the house is destroyed,/separated from chaos.
The house of Israel (Jerusalem and the Temple) has been destroyed and the people have been carried away captive. God's purpose in all this: to separate them from chaos.
Up until this point in time the nation of Israel had a long history of mixing idol worship with the worship of Yahweh. After the Babylonian captivity the nation of Israel is never found worshipping idols.
So, by all means use this verse to comfort yourself but do so with the full knowledge that God will not hesitate to orchestrate the destruction of your "house" in order to deliver you from your idol worship and usher you into a place of peace and hope. The Book of Job is recommended reading.