We all go through hard times in life. Some respond by crying out “If you are a loving God why am I going through this?!?” Others may simply roll over and succumb to the pain. Yet others will get on with life knowing with certainty that the pain is only for a season.
God instructs Jeremiah in 29:5-7 that the Exiles should settle down for the long haul
5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 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. 7 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.”
There captivity to the Babylonians isn’t going to be over anytime soon. But what strikes me is that in this time they are to actively seek the good of their captors. I don’t know about you but when I’m in pain, trouble or hardship its hard to lift my head beyond the issue I am facing. God says to the Israelite “don’t get caught up in your situation, rather make the best of it – and in so doing bless others!”
I love Paul’s encouragement to the Romans in 8:18
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
It is not that we shouldn’t hope that things were better, but that we lift our eyes to the better beyond our present suffering. The best better being when Jesus returns to bring us out of our dark, decaying world and our mortal bodies into an eternal glory that makes all other sufferings pale to insignificance.
Come Lord Jesus! Take us home to the new Jerusalem!