Monday October 19 2015

Monday

Scripture: Jer. 29:1, 4–14

Key verses: (10-14) “For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

Reflection: It is a terrible time, a time of dislocation and exile. Familiar surroundings are left far behind. Comfortable patterns of life are replaced by chaos and uncertainty. Friendly faces become memories and new bosses set the rules and expectations.

Perhaps you’ve been through such a time: changing your school mid-term; a forced relocation for work; an unwelcome merger with a larger company; a forced sell out to a competitor; a move to a new community prompted by a sudden change of circumstances; needing to leave a comfortable job to seek new employment. There are times of exile in everyone’s life when we wake up and discover “we are not in Kansas anymore!”  If only we could go back home! But we can’t.

Usually exile means having to come to terms with the new, before we find a new normal. Jeremiah the prophet told the Hebrew exiles to make a new life in their new place. Bloom where you are planted, was his counsel.  But he also had a more powerful word — even in exile God is with you.

For thus says the Lord: … For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Even in exile, where God is, there is hope!

Prayer: Your plans for us, O Lord, are not always understandable. Our journey takes us far from home. Our future is not clear. Help us to trust your plans for our welfare to have hope for the future. In the name of the God of exiles. Amen.

Author: Von Clemans

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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