I’m finally doing it. Blogging.
Archives for July 2009
This post is the result of a journal entry written last August. It was intended to be a newsletter…never made it…
Building houses and planting gardens… that’s what Reggie and I are doing these days. Not literally, but in a biblical sense. To understand what this phrase means, let me take you back to the days of Jeremiah. Often, Christians quote Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you…” as encouragement during times of frustration, difficulty, or confusion. Appropriately so. However, there is a preface – an introduction if you will – when we look at that verse in context…
“This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon… It said:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah, being led by the Holy Spirit, penned these words when God’s chosen, Judah, was in exile. Years prior, God, through Moses promised that He would reward their faithfulness, but unfaithfulness would result in exile. Thus, after generations of grace and mercy (and warnings) the people of Judah find themselves in exile – in a land not their own, with people not their own. God’s people – frustrated, confused and finally drawn to the Lord.
While Reggie and I do not find ourselves in a physical “exile”, we are finding ourselves in a state of frustration and confusion. Trusting in God’s leading, I have stepped out of teaching full-time– again – waiting to see where He leads me next. Reggie is in a “holding pattern”– having identified some of his passions and giftedness, yet waiting on God to open doors for them to be exercised fully. Just when my “holding pattern” seemed to make sense as we found out we were expecting a baby, we miscarried. So, while we are not physically in “Babylon”, emotionally we are in a “foreign” land of instability and like the Jews, we are waiting on the Lord.
Yet, while we are here we are called to “build houses and plant gardens…” Not sit idle while we wait for the next “official” ministry opportunity, assignment or job. Not twiddle our thumbs as we eagerly look forward to a future pregnancy. But we are to “build and plant” right where we are, in our exile. Simply put, we are to live. And while we are living in exile, Jeremiah comforts us with these words…
“10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 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. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” (emphasis mine).
So while we sit in exile, building and planting, we take comfort in knowing that we will not always be in this place. We are encouraged to know that even when we are clueless, God knows the plans He has for us. We are overwhelmed by His grace. And, we are humbly reminded by the reality that in the midst of it all, our desires, our hopes and our plans, ultimately God’s desire is that we will call upon Him, pray to Him, and seek Him – with all our hearts. Then He will be found.
Resting in His Sovereignty
“Building Houses and Planting Gardens – NOW” (Pt. 2) coming soon…