“Be present in your pain and begin living again.” Isn’t that what God is saying to the exiled people of Israel in the verses leading up to the oft-quoted Jeremiah 29:11 passage? Is not “the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel” telling His people in the first ten verses of the chapter, “Quit looking for an instant rescue and a quick fix. And stop the urge to allow tears and heartache to become your identity”?
God knows Israel’s pain and struggle. He’s well aware of how displaced, lost, and forgotten they feel in exile. And He cares, deeply. That’s why He tells them to start living again… right where they are. “Build houses, plant gardens, raise children,” He tells them. “You can trust, in time, I will make all things new again. Your life is in me, Israel, not in the land you inhabit or in the things you possess. Be present with me in the present” (my paraphrase).
Is there a word in there for you today? Are you embracing God and the life He brings in whatever good, bad, or ugly circumstances you’re currently facing? Or, are circumstances dictating the quality of your life and the condition of your heart? Is there pain you need to embrace, life you need to get on with, or trust in God that needs renewed? Ask God, “What do want me to know, see, or do?”
Yes, God does know His plans for you. And indeed, they’re good and prosperous ones. Will you believe those truths in the present and not just for the future as you daily lean into God with all that you have and are? God’s promise is true: “When you seek me with your whole heart (in all circumstances) … you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:13).
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