It’s good to be back in Canada. After taking a couple of weeks off – and spending some time in the US visiting with my mother and father in law – I am back. And I have begun a 14-day quarantine at home. My head and heart are full – our time away was good and hard at the same time. Like so many moments of our lives seem to be.
I wanted to return to blogging again. Where to start?
I’ll start by sharing some encouragement from the past two mornings as I’ve listened to, reflected upon, and been helped by a podcast from Pete Scazzero.
As a people, we are facing multiple crises AT THE SAME TIME. A global pandemic that has disrupted our lives and brought great suffering. An economic recession. Racial tension and civil unrest. Political tensions and divisions that are growing.
We can laugh at the memes about what 2020 has been like (what a year!). The reality is that the ground underneath us all has been shaken.
Jeremiah 32 can be of help to us. The context – Babylon has become a massive world Empire – conquering nation after nation. Now they have put a siege around Jerusalem. They are about to conquer it too.
The economy of Jerusalem has collapsed. Silver. Gold. Land. They are all worthless. People are fleeing. Starvation is setting in. It’s getting so bad Lamentations tells us that some are even starting to eat their own children to stay alive. There is no order in society left. Hope is lost. The world is shattered.
God’s people feel lost. They believed Jerusalem could never be conquered. It was God’s city! A king would always sit on David’s throne. Yet – here they are. Death is at the door. There is no more hope. People are just trying to survive.
All the prophets and priests are spreading false hope – “it’s going to be fine. Babylon will not conquer us! The people fleeing will return!"
Except Jeremiah. His message is different.
God says to Jeremiah – “go buy a field. Make sure everyone can see what you are doing.” WHAT? Go buy a field? WHY – in a time like this?
Jeremiah obeys. He goes through with the sale. He asks the LORD why he is being asked to do this. And then a word from the LORD comes to him:
“I am the LORD God of all humankind. Is anything too hard for me? YES – you will be carried off by the Babylonians. Yes, they are going to over-run Jerusalem. But – in 70 years – I will restore my people to this land. I have a plan.”
Listen. Things are going to fall apart that you are holding onto. The death of our loved ones. Betrayals and disappointments by people we trusted. Plans upended. Dreams dashed. Great pain and suffering pilling upon us. Lawlessness and evil running rampant. Governments that fail. Leaders who disappoint.
In the face of all these things – God says to us “but . . . I have a plan.”
As we see all the crises unfolding right now. AT THE SAME TIME. And as we encounter the potential of even greater evil lurking behind these realities.
God says – “I’ve got a plan.”
It can see hopeless. But – we are called to carry hope and God’s victory into the future. Even when it seems God is losing. And all is lost. God has a plan.
It may not look the way we thought it would look. Who imagined 2020 unfolding in this way?
But . . . OUR HOPE is in God.
We live in Canada. We are not used to the kind of rocking and shaking ground we are standing on right now. This is not how life has typically played out for us. But – we can trust this – God has a plan.
One of the invitations right now is to continue to abide in Jesus. To listen for His voice. To spend more and more time with Him. To soak more and more in His Word.
To saturate our hearts with the hope we have in the Gospel. To live now in light of a future that is certain – that is the heart of biblical hope. God wins. Hope conquers. Death is defeated. God is King. He will return. All will be well in the end.
We can’t see OUR plans right now. We can’t live on the basis of OUR visions. But – like God’s people have time and time again – we are following the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
God has a plan.
We are being invited to surrender control. We are facing our own limitations. We are surrendering our plans. And we are being invited into a deeper of relationship with God right now. A deeper trust and faith in Him.
Something is unfolding. God is at work. He is in control. He is doing something. Even when we can’t see it. Even when we don’t understand it. We can rest assured God has a plan. God wins. Even when it may appear He is losing.
Let’s be a people who declare this hope.