Sunday morning Mike punched me in the gut during Sunday School. He didn’t mean to. He didn’t even know he was doing it. He was just being faithful to what the Lord gave him to teach, which was Jeremiah 29.
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV
Here’s the thing: I’ve been living like I’m in exile. I haven’t volunteered to do anything at church because I might be moving. I don’t want to prune my trees or plant anything beyond basic filler in my yard because I want to be moving. I’m not investing in new relationships because I might be moving. You can see where I’m going here.
So when Mike read this passage in Sunday School it was like God smacking me on the head with a two by four and telling me to snap out of it. In the famous verse from that same chapter in Jeremiah, God knows the plans he has for me. He hasn’t left me here in west central GA because he’s forgotten about me, or because he was caught off guard by the slow housing market. God has me here for a purpose. I don’t have to move to be purposeful. I don’t have to move to have life continue. I’m not just treading water here, I’m still running the race.
I’ll be honest with you: I don’t know how to keep going right now. I don’t really understand what it is that God’s doing, or why he’s doing it. But the people of Israel didn’t understand why they’d been hauled off to Babylon either. Maybe I’m being disciplined. Maybe I’m being taught. Maybe I’m being rewarded, and I just can’t tell it yet. Regardless, God calls me to live here, not to merely exist until something better comes along.
I’m going to try.