One of my favorite texts in the scriptures is found in Jeremiah 29:11. It’s a simple declaration of God’s faithfulness and divine plan that has resonated with believers for millennia: “‘For surely I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD, ‘plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.’”

Originally written to a people who had been taken from their homeland and had very little hope of returning, it is a verse that has been meaningful to anyone facing doubts about the future or uncertainty about the things that are happening in their lives.

And it is treasured because it can apply to little things (like wondering whether or not I can keep that New Year’s resolution) and big things (like concerns for health, or livelihood, or safety). Having those words tucked away in the memory bank can make a big difference in our capacity to deal with challenges, confront difficulties, and plow through tough situations. “A future with hope” is a phrase that is just brimming with optimistic possibilities.

Recently I learned that within the verse, the words “you” and “your” are not singular, but plural. So while the text is meaningful to me in terms of my own life, it is even more meaningful in terms of God’s intent for all of us.

In response to the concerns about what is happening in our world, or worries about the future of the planet, or the need for reassurance that our collective situation is of no concern to the Almighty, God’s own “New Year’s Resolution” is pretty clear: “a future with hope,” just brimming with optimistic potential—a future that inspires us to seek out goodness and possibilities.

In our individual lives, and in our world, God’s intent for us is goodness and prosperity—a powerful basis for our aspirations and our hopes.