Jeremiah 29:11-13 “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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
If we could plan our own future in every detail we would want to make sure it was free of hardships and difficulties. We would design it with comfortable living, a fulfilling, well-paid job, a happy, healthy family with a lovely spouse and successful, well-adjusted children who brought us credit as parents.
When Jeremiah was given the job of telling Israel that their sovereign, covenant LORD had planned for them 70 years (a lifetime) of captivity in Babylon they refused to believe it. They applauded false prophets who gave a different, more palatable, prediction with only a 2 year sojourn away. But through Jeremiah, God reminded them that HE knew what he was doing, and that they would be far better off to accept his providence, by SETTLING DOWN in the land of their captivity and making the most of it (see verses 4-10)!
As God’s people we are ALWAYS going to be aliens and strangers (misfits) in this world, as the Apostle Peter reminds us: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (1 Peter 1:1-2). Yes, the harder things get here, the more we long for our heavenly home where ‘everything will be as it should be’, but we are not to complain or question the suffering God brings into our lives; rather we are to use these things for his glory, and rest in the fact that HE knows what is best.
He has important work for us to do here as we bear witness to his grace, so in this challenging task, let us all faithfully and continually ‘call upon [our Lord]’ and ‘come and pray to [him]’ and ‘seek [him]’, because he PROMISES that he will ‘listen to [us]’ and that we will ‘find [him]’ as we ‘seek [him] with all [our] heart’.
Peter renews for us the instructions given to God’s covenant people through Jeremiah – “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:11-12).
– Bruce Christian