Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
There are times when I know I need to sit down and write a blog post but I have absolutely no idea where to begin.
This is one of those times.
I’ve quoted today’s scripture a lot in my lifetime, but in many ways I have no idea what to say about it today.
I know Jeremiah the Prophet wrote it to the children of Israel to encourage them when they didn’t understand what was happening in their world and what would happen next.
Jeremiah wrote this portion of scripture to the people of Israel when they were in captivity in Babylon. It was certainly a low point in their history. In Seminary we discussed the Babylonian captivity and the thing that stuck with me was that while only the strong men were taken to Babylon, the older men, the women, and the young children were left behind to either fend for themselves.
That’s how it worked in those days.
The people who were considered to be weak were left behind.
In my mind that meant the men had to leave their families, their elderly parents, their wives, and their children behind. I think that would have been unimaginably difficult for those who were taken as captives and for those who were left behind.
That tells me that the Judean exiles understood pain and misery.
When Jeremiah wrote to the men who had been taken to Babylon to work for the Babylonian Empire they weren’t all considered to be slaves but they did have to work for this foreign King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-archaeology-babylon/ancient-tablets-reveal-life-of-jews-in-nebuchadnezzars-babylon-idUSKBN0L71EK20150203).
In Jeremiah 29:11 the Prophet wrote words of encouragement to them saying, “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.”
What strikes me about Jeremiah 29:11 is that while God was promising those in captivity that there was a plan, they didn’t exactly know details about the plan.
The same concept is true today. Even when we believe God has a plan for us, more than likely we don’t know the details of that plan.
Thats because belief requires faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
In Jeremiah 29:11 we have assurance of things we hope for but the reality of it is not seen.
In other words we aren’t given the details.
When I was in my 20’s I knew I had been called to ministry.
God made that call clear.
I married a young Seminarian and as we prayed we both felt like it was a call to pastor.
Even after Seminary, we still felt like that was the case. The problem is that no doors opened. We went on interview after interview and visited various churches, but nothing opened up.
We had been assured that there was hope but it wasn’t a reality.
We prayed and waited. We waited and prayed.
It was a difficult time. We were very discouraged but still we did not give up. We knew God had a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) but we had no idea what the plan entailed.
Several years went by and one day a small church near St. Joseph, Missouri reached out to us. They asked if we would come preach and stay after for an interview. By now we had three small children and a newborn baby boy. Interviewing with four children was no easy task, but we made plans and early that morning we drove an hour and a half to get to the church.
After church was over and after the children were somewhat settled, we met with the committee. We had been through a lot of interviews through the years so we were ready to answer questions. The actual interview usually took between one or two hours then they would tell us they would be in touch. There had been times when we went home and prayed and waited for months but we never heard back from the committee.
That day when we sat down a very kind gentleman started the interview by asking, “So, can I wear my overalls to church? I don’t own a suit.”
Oh. Well, overalls are just fine.
Then after the members of the committee looked at each other, one woman said, “Good. When can you start?”
And that was that.
We had prayed and waited and prayed and waited for years and suddenly after two very easy questions, we were asked to come.
We were a little dumb-founded on the way home.
Looking back, God knew the plan. It was a good plan for our future filled with hope.
It just took a while for us to KNOW the plan.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Faith
Believe that God has a good plan for you filled with Hope. God will not fail you.
In God, Deborah