At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with my life... well I'll tell you. A huge part of me feels like I'm in Babylon right now. I'm not where I want to be, where I think I should be, or where I feel like I am supposed to be. I'm not necessarily talking geographically... although maybe that is part of it. On October 19th last year (2011) I arrived back in the U.S. after an amazing summer abroad. Amazing because I was stretched, pruned, and grown and I was using skills that I had spent my college years and a lot of my life acquiring. I knew I was where I was supposed to be last summer. But as my time overseas grew to an end I knew that home, back in the U.S., was where I was meant to be. There were some callings in my life that I knew God wanted me to accomplish. Some of those things I've completed and some I'm still working on. But most of those things were/are extra curricular activities so to speak, they don't pay the bills and the don't take up all my time... in fact they leave me A LOT of free time. So I've spent the past seven months looking for a job that meets my physical, as well as personal needs. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not starving, homeless, or unclothed but I know that things can't always stay as they are now, I can't always lean on others, I do need to contribute my share and pay off my debt (because the government might not be as lenient or gracious as my family...). I also know that God has put certain passions in my life and equipped me with certain gifts and skills for a reason, so finding that reason is something I'm striving towards. Anyways, all that to say that things aren't as I had pictured them. I feel like I was were I was supposed to be, and now I've been taken from it and can't get back. So as I was reading the beginning of the chapter I connected a lot with the Israelites. Even though I'm sure my situation is not nearly as bad as theirs. Eventually I got to verse 10 "10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place." SEVENTY YEARS! Holy smokes! Ugh... makes my seven months pale in comparison... But the second half of the verse reminded me that God does not ever go back on His word and He will never leave us, He will never leave you, He will never leave me. My perspective can very easily be WAY off, but that doesn't mean I'm lost. It was a huge encouragement to see God's faithfulness, and knowing the end of the story I know that the Israelites eventually returned back to Jerusalem.
That doesn't make the 70 years easy though. I'm sure there were times that they forgot the promise again, and I'm sure there were times when they wondered why they were in this rut, and where God and His plan was then. I'm sure because I forget the promise, and I'm wondering why I'm in this rut, and I'd love a sneak peek into God's plan and fast forward to my return to Jerusalem, my return to doing something and being somewhere that I knew was what I've been waiting and searching for. But I left out some stuff in the middle:
"4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from
Jerusalem to Babylon:5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 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.” 8 Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord."
While I'm in the Babylon so to speak, I'm not to not live. I need to settle in, to live life. That's not saying that I no longer have the dream, or that I've forgotten that something immensely better is waiting around the corner. But I can't decrease, I most increase in faith, in skills, in training, in everything. I've been living the past seven months waiting for my return to Jerusalem and I've neglected in some areas living in Babylon. I am where I am for a reason and for a season, and I need to be were I've been placed, however long or short that placement is. And who knows what good may come of it! I also need to be careful not to listen to the lies being placed in my life. I need to make sure that the only one I'm following and listening to is God. The rest of the chapter talks about those aren't where they are supposed to be and others who are deceiving people... Man do I want to steer clear of that! Both listening to the lies in my life and not being willing to move when I'm told to move. Mario Pina last summer talked about living under God's grace and blessing or God's mercy. I pray that I live a life worth of His grace and blessings.
P.S. Please don't take this as mean saying that life is terrible right now and there is nothing good about were I am at, that's not what I'm saying at all. I'm not talking specifically about any person or place, I'm just talking about the feeling that I could be doing so much more, or that there is something that fulfills passions and desires to their fullest extent.