I had two poignant faith conversations yesterday with a couple of families in our church. Both of them had either recently or were presently experiencing some pretty challenging circumstances. I would not have been surprised if either family had said to me, “Where is God when I need him?” But that’s not what they said. Instead each of them recalled God’s faithfulness in the midst of their trouble. Each of them trusted that God had plans for good for them, even if they couldn’t quite make sense of what was happening. I was moved by their faith in God.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote to the Jewish people after they had been taken into captivity and exiled to Babylon. These people had lost everything: their homes, their fields, their families, their freedom, their place of worship… everything. They had been put into slavery and sent to work for the conquering families of Babylon. I think its hard for most of us in America to even imagine such devastation. Jeremiah wrote to these people without hope:
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jeremiah 29: 11-14
In times of trouble, I find these words immensely helpful. God is not far off. God hears us when we call and promises plans for our welfare and a future with hope. In times of trouble we don’t always understand what’s going on. We are called to trust that God still loves us and has our back.
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