I found myself reading Jeremiah, chapter 29 this week when I came across these verses:
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)
A couple of things came to my mind when I read this verse. One was that God had a plan for the exiles in Babylon (Jer. 29:11). As a matter of fact, although they didn’t see it that way at the time, the Jewish exiles were actually much better off than those who remained in Israel.
See, God was about to bring judgment on the Jews remaining in Israel. It wasn’t a pretty picture that Jeremiah was painting for them.
Of course, the exiles in Babylon couldn’t see the big picture. They only saw the little piece of the puzzle that God was showing them. They didn’t see how it fit into His master plan.
God has a plan for each of us, too. And, even though we can’t see the whole, finished puzzle, we have to trust that God has placed us exactly where He wants us. God wants us to bloom where we are planted.
That’s the other thing that came to my mind. I was reminded of one of my favorite scenes from the movie Facing the Giants. Actually, it’s really hard to pick a favorite scene from that movie. If you haven’t yet seen it, I highly recommend it.
In this scene, Mr. Bridges, a man who often comes to pray over the students of the school where Grant Taylor is the football coach of a losing team, has come to Coach Taylor’s office with a message from God. Mr. Bridges shares these verses with Coach Taylor:
What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Rev. 3: 7-8)
You may not have much strength and you may not understand why God has placed you where He has today. However, God sees the big picture and, if He has placed before you an open door, He knows His plans for you. You are where you are for a reason.
He wants you to pray for the peace and the prosperity of the “city,” the place in which you find yourself. When you pray for the peace and prosperity of this place where God has brought you, whether it’s a physical location or simply a season of life, you, too, will find peace and prosperity.
Whatever your “city” is, whatever your open – or possibly closed – door is, don’t lose sight of the fact that God sees the whole, completed puzzle, not just the little piece that He’s letting you see. And, He has a plan for you:
“…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon 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,” declares the LORD. (Jer. 29:11-14)
Seek Him. He’s waiting to be found.
photo credit waferboard on flickr