Jonathan's Perspective  

Nov 30

Waiting for God

Have you ever felt like your life was in a holding pattern?  Life is not always onward and upward, we have our valleys of dashed hopes and unfulfilled expectations.  Sometimes it is hard to see beyond the circumstances, the difficult people, the financial upset.  The Israelites experienced a significant downturn in their national life when their cities were destroyed and their leaders and craftsman taken into exile to Babylon in 597 BC.  Many thought their existence as a separate people with their own land and worship in the Jerusalem Temple was over.  However, God spoke through Jeremiah to give them hope.  If you are in a holding pattern, listen to these encouraging words of guidance to God's people.

First, remember that God is always with you.  'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.'(Jer 29: 4)  Sometimes God takes us into those difficult places for His own reasons.  We can know for certain that God will never leave us or forsake us, especially during our most difficult struggles.  In fact, it is in the dark times that we often lean into God the most to discover the length and breadth of his love, care, guidance, and power.

Second, don't let difficult times derail you from living a meaningful life.  Meaning is not derived from the things we have in our lives or the ease of living; rather, meaning comes from engaging our daily lives with faith in God.  "'Build houses and settle down... marry... and increase...'"(Jer 29:5-6)  In good times and in bad, invest your life in things that make the greatest difference - family, friends, church, and community.  We can always fulfill the commandments to love God and love our neighbors, no matter the circumstances.  And when we do so, we will find meaning and blessing.

Third, pray for those in authority.  I admit that I don't do enough of this.  However, God told the Israelites not to give up on their situation.  "'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 29:7)  When the Babylonians were conquered by Persia, Cyrus allowed the Israelites to return to Israel with money, authority, and protection to rebuild Jerusalem.  Later, Darius II gave additional money for the rebuilding of the Temple.  So pray for all those in authority from your boss, to your president, because when leaders make good decisions everybody wins.

Finally, entrust your future to God.  It is so easy to become anxious about what will happen next.  We can become pessimists thinking that things will never change, or will probably get worse.  But God has plans for you!  "'I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."'(Jer 29:11)  We are a people who live in hope.  I'm not talking about unfounded optimism or wishful thinking.  Christian hope is confidence in God's promises.  It is an assurance that if God makes a promise, we can confidently act upon it.  Paul writes in Romans 8:28 that, 'in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.'  Paul didn't write this in a vacuum, but knew difficulties, hostility - even persecution.  He goes on to write:

'For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'(Rom 8:38-39)

You can take that to the bank!

If you find yourself in a holding pattern in life, don't despair or become anxious.  God is with you in the dark times, just as in the good times.  Focus on what is meaningful in life that you can control and increase.  Pray for those who are in leadership positions, who make decisions that affect your life.  Pray for good counsel, humble hearts, and servant spirits.  Finally, remember that God has a hope and a future with you specifically in mind!  You are in good hands.

Blessed to be a blessing,

Jonathan

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