Jessica Albritton, Children and Family Connections Minister, LHBC
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord. “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
A few years back while serving on staff at a small church outside of Franklin we took our students to a weeklong summer camp. The kids had attended the camp before and had raved about it! I had never been…
We get to camp and the first thing I noticed was the radar. It was set to rain every day that week and the humidity was so high that none of our clothes or towels could dry. And then there was the plumbing… If you were in the shower you couldn’t flush the toilet or you would have a mess. Water would flood out from the showers and overflow into the cabin. When that would happen we would all have to grab everything up off the floor and throw it on a bed so it wouldn’t get soaked! I looked at my co-leader at one point in the week and exclaimed, “This is NOT what I signed up for!”
Jeremiah found himself thinking the same thing.
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most well-known verses in the Bible but we don’t get the full weight of the promise until we understand its context.
Read a little before the famous verse and you will find the Israelites in exile, a direct punishment from God resulting from their disobedience.
In verses 5-7 the Lord speaks through Jeremiah declaring, “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
Here the Lord is essentially telling the Israelites, “Hey guys, I know you’re in exile… get comfortable…” He even goes on to say the exile will last 70 years! But then comes verse 11. God follows up terrible news with a comforting promise, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Sometimes we find ourselves in some pretty terrible situations, places we definitely didn’t sign up for. When this happens we have two options: Wallow in self-pity crying “woe is me” or rest in the truth that God holds not only our future, but also our present.
Have you ever found yourself somewhere like this? One of those situations where the job description doesn’t exactly match the work you find yourself doing? Well, get comfortable, and know that the Lord has a plan in all of it. It might not be what you wanted for your life, but maybe, just maybe, this is exactly what the Lord has planned for you after all…
By the way, that year at camp I had the overwhelming privilege of leading two of our girls to accept Jesus into their hearts! I look back on that hot, damp, tiresome, not what I signed up for summer and just smile. It wasn’t what I signed up for. It was so much better!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord, I pray that in the midst of all the “I didn’t sign up for this” moments in life you open my eyes to see all the great opportunities you have prepared for me to share the message of the Gospel. May your goodness be ever present on my mind and may I rest in the knowledge that you hold it all; past, present, and future! Amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord