When the Exiled (or Quarantined) Lived
by Karen Huber
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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. 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.” (Jeremiah 29:4-7, NIV)
Every so often I think about the Babylonian captivity. How’s that for an opener? No really, in the mountaintops and valleys of my walk with the Lord, I come back to that tender root of Hebrews, they who were forcibly exiled from their homeland. I’m sure we’re all familiar with that well-known, well-loved, well-clung-to verse.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11).
How often have I needed to hear that, be reminded of that. His love for me, His plans for flourishing, a future built on the hope of His promises.
He knows my life.
He knows my path.
He knows my future.
Right now I sit by my back door, a global crisis outside just beyond the threshold. School bells no longer ring. My children are now at home to be suddenly educated by yours truly. Parties and national parades cancelled, pubs and restaurants closed. My family of origin feels far away—even my neighbors feel far away!
I am prone to running faith scared, not always faith lived, and right now I feel that temptation keenly.
I’m tempted to skip over the unknowns straight into God’s promise to prosper me. I’m tempted to hold him to it and just wait him out.
Faith hedging my bets.
Faith in stasis.
But what comes before that promise pulls me forward into faith lived, whether I like it or not. Before the promise, before the hope and a future, he tells me to faith garden, faith marry, faith raise my children. He calls me to faith prayer, for the peace and prosperity of my town, my neighbors, my new country (and my old one, too).
He calls me to faith walking with a friend through the park, gulping down fresh air like its fresh water. To faith teaching my children, knowing this time with them is priceless. Perhaps even to faith social distancing, a new way to love my neighbor and hold space for them in both hands.
For today, that means moving past the shame of being late for deadline (again!), faith writing this down, to tell you I am here, faith living with you.
Warmly in Christ,
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” (Jeremiah 29:12-14a, NIV)
- How has God called you to “faith lived” today, exactly right where you are, in this specific moment in time? Is it to do something, say something, text or email something, pray something?
- Are you like me, often faith weary or stressed? What verse, prayer or song helps you turn that around into faith trust and life? Read, meditate, or sing it today!