----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Rob Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Rob Smith <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 7:26 AM
Subject: A plan?
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29: 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
The Lord sent this message through the prophet Jeremiah to the people of Judah who had been taken into exile. At this point in their lives the plans didn't look too encouraging. They had been ripped from their homes in Jerusalem and swallowed up as captives and servants of a fierce pagan people. If there was a plan for their lives it didn't look like a good one. But God explains earlier in this prophecy that even this exile was His plan for them! They had wandered far from Him already in their hearts and had experienced a spiritual exile...a self selected distance...from their Lord for years. Now God would confirm this choice of theirs with a worldly separation from their familiar homes and lives. But He also gave them hope that one day they would return...seventy years down the road...after they learned to miss Him and to seek Him sincerely and wholeheartedly. At their darkest and lowest point God gave them hope through His promise. And He told them to seek the best for the place He had placed them while they worked through this time of separation. For one day they would be together, restored in close relationship and returned to their homeland.
You may feel like you are "living in exile" yourself, separated from home, without a plan for your life. But it is good to remember that the Lord does have a plan for you and even your exile is part of it. The distance you feel...the sense of being away from home or in bondage or distress...may be a blessing as it causes you to turn your heart first to Him that He might guide you to your eternal home, to be with Him forever. So let us seek the best for the place we now are living and let us trust that one day we will also be completely restored to His presence, following the lead of our hearts and minds to be restored to Him now...wherever we find ourselves.