Living in Exile

While making my way through the book of Jeremiah, I read and re-read chapter 29. It includes my favorite verses 29:11-13, but it also includes so much more. The prophet, Jeremiah, writes to the Israelites who’ve been taken captive in Babylon and basically tells them that God wants them to settle in for a while!

Can you imagine what it must have been like to be taken from the land that God had promised you would belong to you and your family forever? To be taken from your family and living among people you don’t know or share any commonalities with? At this point, I’m pretty sure the Israelites had seen the folly of their ways. They knew that they’d messed up and now they wanted to go home. They were probably begging God to save them from the hand of the Babylonians and return them to their homeland; but what did God tell them? He told them, to settle in, marry, have children, build homes; in essence, continue living life, until the time that He set for them to be returned to their land should come.

How often is it that we find ourselves in a pit of our own creation? We recognize our mistakes and we turn back to God, begging Him to help lift us out of our situation. These are the moments we feel like He doesn’t care, because, often, help doesn’t come right away. Does that mean that God doesn’t care? Most certainly not. Just as God cared about the Israelites while they were living in exile in Babylon, God most certainly cares about each of our situations. But God’s timing is not like our own. He sees a much bigger picture than we do; and sometimes we just have to learn to live in exile, until the day that God unveils His plan for us. That means trusting in Him to pull us through, when we can’t see beyond our current circumstances…