I came across something interesting recently during my quiet time. I was reading a very familiar passage out of the Book of Jeremiah.
This is the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to what was left of the elders among the exiles, to the priests and prophets and all the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon from Jerusalem...
The letter said: ..."Build houses and make yourselves at home. Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country. Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you'll thrive in that country and not waste away. Make yourselves at home there and work for the country's welfare. Pray for Babylon's well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you." ...
I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.'"
Jeremiah 29:1-11 MSG
I have taught that last verse dozens (maybe hundreds) of times over the years, but I never really caught the background until now. Jeremiah's message is to Israeli exiles, war captives living away from their homeland. They have been forced to learn a new language and foreign culture in a strange land. He is writing to people that have no rights, no representation, no future and very little hope.
But notice what God, through Jeremiah, says to these people: I have plans for you... good plans for a hope-filled future!
Notice what else he says to them: "Don't shut down and give up. Engage the culture. Invest your heart and soul - and your prayers - into it. As you engage this 'hostile' culture, you'll experience My blessing."
No matter what you're going through, I have good news for you... there is ALWAYS hope! As long as God is alive, there is hope! The message of Jesus' resurrection is one of hope. So get back up on your feet and cooperate with God to create a new reality out of your situation!