I was scanning through my Bible this morning looking for a particular verse when my eyes stopped on Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." My thoughts drifted... Here God is telling the Israelites, who have been uprooted from their homes and carried away into captivity that there is hope. How often do we find ourselves in situations beyond our control? I know I try like the dickens to control as much as possible in my small realm of life but I do not control one single thing....I just think I do!
I need to recognize the fact that God will send me into exile. Jeremiah 29:4 points out that it was God who exiled the Israelites, "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon..." God had allowed it to happen. I need to remember that whenever circumstances around me are not ideal, when they may be down right horrific. Contrary to what I may believe, or want to believe, the situation is in God's hands and my life is not out of control. Nothing just randomly happened to get me where I don't want to be.
The difficult part seems to be in accepting the situation while acknowledging God's control in our life. In other words, bloom where we are planted. No matter how terrible or awful we find the situation we are in we are to go on loving the Lord and fulfilling His purposes for us. Jeremiah proceeds to tell the people of Israel how to live during their exile. "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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" (Jeremiah 29:5-6). In other words, life was to go on...they were not to focus on their pain. Life was to go on for them just as it is to go on for you and me.
Jeremiah gave them this promise so whenever they were discouraged they were to find their security and hope in God. You and I can can do that too...we should do that.
I know that God has promised to work all things for our good and His purposes (Romans 8:28) no matter what may be swirling around me at the time. He is my anchor, my security. When I find my security in God then I begin to see beyond the sorrow and suffering I am experiencing. When I don't look to God and the truths of His Word, insecurity results. If my thoughts are not in line with what the Bible teaches, I am thinking lies which will feed my fantasies and fears. Oh how easy it is for me to focus on the past or the future rather than on the present reality.
No matter what zig zagging the path of life takes, through all the twists and turns it can throw at me I can be content and at peace knowing the Father. He has promised me a future and a hope. Can I choose to turn a blind eye to all that? Yes. Will it change the Truth? No. My life may just be more difficult than it needs to be.