Scripture: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
By Justin Huey
years. Even if I absolutely hated everything about it, I was going to stay for
two years. That’s the promise I made to myself before abandoning my life as a
touring musician from the east coast to move to the middle of the country to be
a part of this church in downtown Kansas City. Honestly, I was so certain I was
making the right decision, I didn’t even think much about the promise at
all. You see, I had been experiencing a transformation in my life in the
months preceding the move, pursuing my faith in a way I had never known before.
It was uncomfortable and adventurous, and I felt a closeness to God and an unprecedented
confidence in His calling for me. I was trusting. I was praying. I was
seeking good counsel. I was on the mountaintop.
Then came the valley. I was in Kansas City for what felt like five minutes when seemingly everything in my life began to fall apart. After what I can only describe as a comedy of misfortunes, I found myself alone in a new city at one of the lowest points of my life, feeling abandoned by God, perplexed at how I could have made such a terrible mistake. I wanted to run, to cut my losses and start over. Then I remembered my stupid promise – that no matter what I’d stick it out for two years.
I imagine the Hebrew people felt something like this, exiled to Babylon, under the rule of a people who weren’t their own, far away from everything they had known. (Okay, okay – they may have felt it just a little more.) So, it’s no surprise the prophet Jeremiah wasn’t all that popular when he dropped this bit of knowledge from God. All over the land there were false prophets spreading false hope that they would be delivered from captivity in a short time. (No need to unpack y’all – God will be here soon. Let’s just wait it out.) Then here comes Jeremiah saying “Hey, God says you’re not going anywhere for a while, and He strongly suggests you make the best of it. Go live your lives to the fullest among the Babylonians. Oh, and one more thing: pray for the prosperity of your captors while you’re at it.” Ouch. This wasn’t what people wanted to hear or believe at all. But it was the truth.
God isn’t calling us to stand still – he is calling us to push forward! Seven years later, I’m so thankful I chose to stay. All of the greatest joys of my life have stemmed from what I once perceived as hardship. And you know what? The Hebrew people did as God said, and they prospered in Babylon. Life rarely looks the way we think it’s going to, even when we feel we’ve done our best to be faithful. Yet we are called as Christians not to wait around for God to deliver us, but to get to work living as people who believe in the power of the resurrection. To be the source of His light, joy, and hope, not separating ourselves, but engaging culture around us and the people who are different than us, spreading love and building His kingdom here on earth. God is working through the valleys to bring forth life – we just need the eyes to see it and the courage to live into His call.
Can you think of a time you felt close to God, on the mountain top?
What about when God seems far away? What do you do?
Have you ever felt God calling you to something you were unsure about? What did you do? How did it work out? Looking back, can you see how God was working?
How are you engaging in the world around you, being joy, embodying hope and spreading the love of Christ?
Wesley’s Challenge Questions for the Week:
- Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
- Can I be trusted?