Hope and a future...
God likes to take away my idols. I am constantly struggling with them, and the more I deal with my condition, the more deep-rooted my idolatry is exposed. Therefore, I don't claim to have mastered anything of which I write, but as I struggle and write, I hope they help us all to worship our beautiful Lord more faithfully. Therefore, these blogs are often the result of my struggles at the time. While God continues to drown me in His grace, the posts also are a reflection of the aching in my heart. Consequently, I must confess there was a heart-struggle as I wrote yesterday's post:
"What about Jeremiah 29:11?!?!?!"
Many of us Americans know this verse: "For I know the plans I have for you,"declares the Lord , "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Much like Romans 8:28, I hear this verse most often used the same way... like some form of theological: "it's going to be OK. God will make it all better", and we look for that hope fulfilled here.
But, is that what the verse is saying?
The verse was God speaking to the Israelite exiles. In context, He tells them to settle down and make a temporary home in their exile, seek and pray for the well being of their situation, don't listen to the false prophets promising victory in the short term but to listen to the Lord's words and wait for and desire His longer-term plan to return them home.
According to the passage in context, God affirms His sovereignty over their exile, and His plan for a hope and a future will be fulfilled in their return from the exile... when they return home. Therefore, God's promise of a hope and a future wasn't to be fulfilled during their time in Babylon.
So, how are we to apply this promise to us?
For us to properly apply this promise, we must understand that as Christians, we should see ourselves more as exiles in a foreign land rather than at home in that foreign land. Heaven is our home, Heb 13:14. Our sabbath rest remains for God's people, Heb 4, and our inheritance is kept in Heaven, 1 Peter 1:4.
Therefore, we must look to the fulfillment of His plan to return home. Through God's promises in Christ, we gain access to home, dwelling with God in His Kingdom, forever. To long for anything less is an idol.
Therefore, as I think of this verse and how it applies to cancer, I must accept my greatest struggle is with my attachments to this world in light of God's promises ultimately in Christ resulting in final reunion with God in His Kingdom.
And, if I see the true home and future for what it is, it makes what I have in Christ all the more precious. No matter how long I live, even the residual goodness and blessings of God I experience here will not compare with what will be ... thanks to Christ.
Therefore, I hope we can follow the whole counsel of Jeremiah 29 with what time we have by establishing only temporary residences, influencing and praying for this world, ignoring the false prophets with their quick solutions and look to God's true hope and future, kept in Heaven for us.
I don't type these things blind to the blessings I live in every day. Consider this:
[Caption: Center, the most blessed man in the world.]
It's hard to imagine a hope and a future better than that ... even if the above is built on that hope and its transformational effect.
Let's live whatever time we have faithfully, knowing and longing for a better, future hope that Christ has opened to us.