A thought penetrated my heart to sort of paraphrase Jeremiah's letter to the captives in chapter 29 of the book bearing his name. We are familiar with a couple of verses from this letter, but recognizing that God knows the plans that He has for us is more powerful when we get a sense of how out of the plan we may actually seem at the time...
Jeremiah sent a letter from Jerusalem to those who had already been carried away captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. The word of the Lord to those who had been taken from their home to live in a foreign land was probably not what they would have expected. He told them to build houses and dwell in them, to plant gardens and eat the fruit of them. To continue life in marrying and giving in marriage...having children to increase in number rather than diminish. They were even instructed to pray for the peace of the land in which they were captives! To pray for its peace because they were within it, and so the peace would inevitably affect them.
And so we come to verses 10-14 - some of the most beloved and clung to Scriptures in all of the Word.
"For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good Word toward you, and cause you to return to this place [Jerusalem]. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive."
They had just been instructed to get comfortable in a foreign land, because deliverance would take a while. Then they hear that the Lord has a plan. Yes, the captivity was out of punishment due to disobedience, but the Lord does not give up on His children. And He did not want them to give up hope. He promised to bring them back home, and He fulfilled His promise.
The promises of God are "Yes" and "Amen" in Christ. We may live in the Babylon of this world as we wait to be carried to our home in heaven. We may have instructions to build houses and live our lives to the best of our abilities as we wait. But don't ever forget that He has not forgotten where we are. He does indeed know the thoughts that He thinks toward us, and He will fulfill His Word. I dare You to trust Him.
Father, I am so thankful that You know the plans You have made. I don't have to know everything, because as long as I am Yours I can rest in You. In Jesus' Name I pray and wait. Amen.
Jeremiah 29, 2 Corinthians 1:20