In Jeremiah 29:10-12 God declares to His people,
“As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.WHEN you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen.“
God had a plan for generations for the nation of Israel.
The people of Israel were exiled in Babylon for 70 years. They were deeply discouraged and grieved by the events that unfolded- they felt God had rejected them because of their sins. Yet God sent word through the prophet Jeremiah to encourage them in their grief. He reminded them of the BIG picture– the 70 years of suffering was in accordance to the prophetic word spoken about them through Daniel. It was in God’s plan. God had allowed the suffering for a season and for a reason- as consequence to Israel’s continual rejection of Him.
BUT God did not abandon them forever. He promised to come back for them. And He did!
I visited the Corrie ten Boom house in Haarlem a few months ago. A really gifted narrator related Corrie’s life’s story and took us around the house on a visual journey . It was a powerful experience but she said something I will never forget: About a 100 years before Corrie ten Boom was born, her ancestors prayed together in the SAME house for Jews and for Jerusalem. A 100 years later, God used the SAME family to hide Jews from the Nazis.
God had a plan for Corrie- He was already at work a 100 years before she was born!
Sure, there were years of affliction and silence. But God kept His Word. Corrie endured in the concentration camp because she chose to keep her eyes on God.
God has a plan for your life- He is already at work since generations!
Perhaps you are saying, “Oh Helga, that is easy to write and preach to others. But SO difficult to live-out! You have no idea what I am going through!” If this is of any encouragement to you, I choose to be vulnerable today: I am in the middle of the biggest storm in my life- my husband lost his job almost a year ago, suffered a near death experience late last year. As we grapple every month with the challenges of failed job interviews, rapidly depleting bank account, medical issues, bored children during summer holidays, living in a country that is not our own, listening to countless unsolicited advice, battling against loneliness, abandonment and depressive thoughts, facing mounting stress from all sides…somewhere along the way of all these endless challenges, God beckoned me to look beyond our circumstances and to look up to Him ALONE. God has taken hold of me. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
In Jeremiah 29:13-14 (The Message) God beckons His people with, “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree. I’ll turn things around for you. …You can count on it.“
I testify today that in the midst of our deepest, darkest hour, I have found deep joy that is independent of our circumstances. I experience peace above all human reasoning and understanding because I made a firm resolve in my heart to fix my eyes on JESUS. Sure there have been days when thoughts of hopelessness fought and won. But those days are thankfully few and far between ever since we decided to desperately cling to Jesus every single day.
I have found strength and courage during fiery trial because of my secret place with the Lord. My times with the Lord have been richest during this season of suffering. It is my utmost desire to encourage as many people as possible that YES it is possible to keep our heads above water when the storms of this life hit us unexpectedly. God does not remove us from our times of trial but He has given us strength DURING our time of suffering.
Ask God to show you how to make use of your time of trial. Don’t waste this season in your life.
Whatever your circumstance, know that: God is pursuing you with His relentless, unconditional love.
God is serious about you. He longs for you to get serious about HIM!
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