This is my letter from the exile.
The letter to the exiles began like this:
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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. 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.”
~Jeremiah 29: 4-7
I love that letter with all my heart.
I love that even though God was using Jeremiah to speak to a specific group of people, at a specific time, facing a specific difficulty, He was speaking to us today too.
God was telling the Israelites in exile how they were to live in that awkward place of “not yet.” He was telling them to fight the temptation to throw up their hands and give up. He was telling them that despite their inclination to wait out the exile with stern faces and closed hearts, they were called to more. They were asked to cultivate and create – gardens, houses, and families. They were asked to love their city with their mind, heart, and hands. They were told to pray hard.
We are in our own exile. We are foreigners in a strange land, waiting to be brought home.
And I believe God is asking the same of us, that we would seek the peace and prosperity of the city we are in. This big huge city.
We’ve been told what to do, and this is my humble and awkward and messy attempt at doing it. So this is my letter from the exile.