I imagine many of you relate to the line from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he said, “Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; known and read by everyone…” This is what I feel when I see my children standing strong in God, growing and ministering. I wish to say, “There! That is what I spent my time on, they are the evidence of my sincerity, prayer, and dependence on God to raise up godly children.”
They all grown now, wives, a husband, secure in themselves and where God has placed them and they make me smile. A lot.
Jana is a board member of Blossom Ministry in Washington State. She wrote in their winter newsletter the following article I’d like to share with you.:
At this point, if you’ve been reading our Blossom Newsletter in the last couple of years you know that my husband and I lost our son when I was 5.5 months pregnant. It’s been more than 2 years since we lost him, 3 years since we first learned we would probably deal with infertility, and with another miscarriage last spring it’s an understatement to say we’re tired of loss and waiting.
This is my HARD place. My “dark night of the soul” if you will. I feel like I am in an never-ending desert; wilderness; dare I say, exile?
What do you do when you have been sent to exile? Either by your own choices or simply because this broken life finds itself there…how do you cope when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? And what do you do while you wait?
Jeremiah chapter 29 opens with a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the exiles. He says that the Lord God of Israel commands that these exiles should, ”…Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…Increase in number there; do not decrease.
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.”
Build. live. plant. eat. multiply. pray.
In other words: You’re going to be here for awhile. You may as well be productive while you wait. That list is full…years worth of stuff to keep you busy while you wait for freedom. The exiles were banished for 70 years before God brought them home. What a LONG time to sit and twiddle your thumbs. Maybe not as long of a time if you have something to show for yourself while you waited expectantly.
We find more lists from God throughout scripture.
In Psalm 37:7-9 we are told to trust, do good, dwell, cultivate, delight and rest. In Proverbs 3:5-6 God reminds us to trust and not lean on our own understanding.
Once Jeremiah gives God’s commands to the exiles he brings a word of hope: “This is what the Lord says:
“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” ~ Jeremiah 29: 10-14
He promises light at the end of the tunnel! I don’t know when that will be for me or for you but someday we will be brought home from exile. Multiple times God promises to bring us home:
Ezekiel 21:41 ”When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me. And I will display my holiness through you as all the nations watch!”
Jeremiah 12:15 says “But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. “
Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (paraphrased) In the future when you are living among the nations to which the Lord your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions. Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live! The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the Lord will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.
[Reprinted by permission, Blossom Ministries, 2014] http://blossomministries.com/
I hope her story touches your heart as it does mine.
And Jana is not the only writer in the family, our younger daughter, Jenn, recently began a blog for young mothers. You can read it here: http://poofandtheniwasamom.wordpress.com/ and be blessed by her love of God.
May God fill this holiday season with Joy and Peace.