Jeremiah 29:11-13 says the following: 11 “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. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So many people (and I was one of them!) quote Jeremiah 29:11 and stop there. We encourage one another with the great (and true!) thought that God has a plan for us and that plan is for a future and for a positive outcome. It was my wife, Patty, that first pointed out to me that Jeremiah 29:11 has a condition: Jeremiah 29:13. Again, Jeremiah 29:13 reads: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
The first word “seek” is the Hebrew word “Baqash” (Xqb). This word means to “to seek, require, desire, exact, request” (The Hebrew lexicon is Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon s.v. “seek”) This is not a passive, passing interest in the Father. It is “hot pursuit”!
The second “seek”, translated “search” in the NAS, is the Hebrew word “Darash” (Xrd). This word means “to resort to, seek, seek with care, enquire, require” (Ibid.).
Think of it: we are told in Jeremiah 29:13 to essential thirst after Father. We will find Him when we “seek with care” with all of our heart. Clearly, we can see this is an important condition of Jeremiah 29:11. Although it is true that God has a plan and a hopeful future for all His children, we have to seek His face. We must search Him out. He wants to be found…He’s waiting for those who will seek (“Baqash”) Him with all their heart.