Keep on Living!
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 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. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper" (Jer. 29:4-7).
I really like these verses from Jeremiah 29. God has decided that all of the kindness and mercy that he had bestowed upon the Jews at this time was not changing their lives. They would not return to Him and so for the good of the people, God decided to let the people go into captivity for 70 years. Jeremiah is telling them that this is going to happen, but … even amid this change in their lives … they still needed to continue to live. Many of the people would probably die in exile and never return to Jerusalem, but God would never forget them.
During this past year, with so much change surfacing in the pandemic, through protests, plus politics and the aches and pains of turning a year older (LOL), I have worried. Oh my, did I just say that out loud? Yes, I do sometimes wonder what God is going to do with our country.
Even during uncertainty, we all need to keep our eyes focused towards God the Father. He is doing something with the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
As my oldest daughter has grown up and taken on the married life, she is now expecting her first child. I found myself wondering if that was a good decision in the times in which we are living. But God … His word says that even amid this time we are to keep living, to keep bearing children, to keep praying and to seek peace in this city, and in this country. Our God is still on the throne and He is still seeking lost souls, and He is still in the process of growing His kids up in the faith. Will we trust Him?
Do you remember when you were young? I think I do. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to grow up and to get married, to have children and grandchildren, but what if Jesus came back before I got to do that? Haha, what a goofball! One husband (thank goodness), three children, a son-in-law, and three grandchildren later, and I am still waiting on Jesus.
God is so good! How do people without God make it through life? For us Christians, we have hope. I see it everywhere. Three godly women in my life have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the last three months. You know what, they all understand that God is in control and they are trusting in Him and hoping that God will receive the glory as they proceed through this trial. Lord, sustain these friends!
Someone asked me, “What will we do if our country starts persecuting the church?” My hope is that we will keep living. I’m not going to take up a gun and shoot people that come to my house, but I will trust God. If we die, we go to a better place … ETERNITY with God! If we are imprisoned, we get to share the gospel with the captives. I really try not to think about it but … the truth be known … we still need to be like Christ in all circumstances (even during trials).
I don’t want to end this devotion on a downer, but there is a promise that God gave to the Jews. Jeremiah 29:11 “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."
God did not forget his people in exile and after 70 years, he promised to restore them. God is wanting to do things in our lives during this time. Maybe for you, it is to increase your faith, to stretch your trust, to take you out of your comfort zone or to jump start your heart so that you love deeper.
The message that I hope you heard is that God wants you to keep living. Don’t become paralyzed in fear. Just keep moving, just keep moving, and breathe.
O Lord, give me a heart like yours, full of compassion and ready to leap into action as I see you at work with this world. Keep me grounded in the truth that comes from your word. Help us to be fruitful even when we cannot see through the wilderness of our lives. Amen.
-- Vicki Conley, First Baptist Church of Delta, Colo.