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 you 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 (Jer. 29:11-14).
As Jeremiah warns the Israelites not to listen to the false prophets predictions of an early return from exile, God reminds us of similar misleading commentary in the public media today. Many people are taken aback by the recent cataclysmic natural disasters; the hurricanes and tsunami’s, unusual proportions of rain, snow and cold temperatures around the world;
Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile (registering 8.8 and 6.6 level), and recently in Taiwan (a 6.0 level). These events devastating though they may be, are used as fodder by some to promote their own prophetic agenda, among them being that the end time (eschatology) is near. And unfortunately, as in todays text, some of the false prophets are within the house of God. However, the Bible that I read says over and over be ready ,for “..about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mt.24:36)
Therefore if you are in the world and believe in God, you are in exile because this is a hostile land for those who strive to live a righteous God-fearing existence here on earth. But,”be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude, the battle is not yours it’s the Lords”.
Moreover, the good news is that God knows his plans for you ,and for your welfare, that you may have a healthy and productive future. God’s word is immutable, yet he desires to change situations and people that he may be glorified. His most incredulous changes though occur in the hidden places of the soul and spirit. He rejoices in changing tears to laughter; of changing happiness to joy; of giving life to the dead and calling into existence the things that do not exist; of making the lame walk ,and voiceless talk. God loves changing things!
I once heard a story about a couple held captive by their surroundings, which frustrated and stymied their walk of faith with God. This couple bought an abandoned house that had been empty for years. As the wife stood in the living room doubting why they purchased the house, she examined her surroundings. The carpet she stood on was filthy and molded; mildewed wallpaper hung on the walls. She could see through gaping holes in the plastered walls. The windows were broken and dislodged; The furnace no longer worked; and all the electrical circuits were dead, and beyond repair.
Standing there she begin to cry as she thought to herself, ‘these rooms are too dirty to clean, they are gross and disgusting. Immediately, she realized God was speaking to her. It was like God was saying,”you know that is how I feel about your house; the house of your heart.” In agreement with the revelation, she begin to clean away the filth, one room at a time she cleaned away the dirt and grime. The more she cleaned, the more she felt God encouraging her to let her work be a witness to what he was doing in her own life. As she continued to clean, she discovered that she would actually have to make the house look worse than it is, before it could look better, and that scared her. Nevertheless, she realized there was a profound lesson in the work, so she pressed on.
Finally, taking a breather, she thought to herself,” many times we think something has to come (to us) perfect, but it’s when God works on us ,and through us that the work that he started becomes beautiful and charming.