In 2012, I wrote about freedom and values and pro-this and anti-that and the war of words that rages in political years, and the growing ache inside of me that whispers, “you are made for more.” The ache is there again – maybe because the war is there again and the battleground is stained and the cries are more angry than ever. Fear is holding home hostage and pride is having a heyday.
I’ve been reading Jeremiah 29, a chapter in the Bible that is home to a scripture well-meaning, promise-loving folks quote often: “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.” (verse 11). Again, I’ve been reading the whole chapter. Maybe what’s written below, inspired by the chapter, isn’t for you. Or maybe – just maybe- you need to see God not just in the future, but in this very present.
These words. Please read these words today, love, and let them sink down deep and settle in your soul. Please read the words out loud as the world rages and despairs and graffitis IF THIS THEN THAT on stone walls built higher and higher. Please read these words as smirking smiles enamor with sleight of hand temptations. Please read these words as the where you are gusts rough like a storm.
Read these words, love. For they will not scatter.
Rare are the days of milk and honey. More often are the days filled with the attacks of unseen enemies, the chest-thumping of the arrogant, the roar of unrelenting crowds, the weariness of unending days, the march through the mundane, the echoes of hollow promise, the moments of divinity evaporating like morning mist. Your feet ache against scorched earth, and the masses running in desperation to mirages bring you to your knees.
This where is not your final destination.
This where is your faithful next step.
And you are here at the invitation of God Himself.
He wants you to build a nest in the mangled branches. He wants you to plant a garden in the cracked soil. He wants you to bring light to a land that snuffs it. He wants you to bring hope to the place that mocks it. He wants to pour out milk and honey through you as He prepare it for you.
Yes, love. He is preparing. Always preparing.
The God of milk and honey is the God of mangled branches and cracked soil. The God of futures filled with bright hope is the same God of snuffed light. The God of rivers of hope is the God of the ones who drain the rivers dry.
And He is preparing you as He is preparing your next where. So, build and plant and bring and pour. Speak and listen as He speaks. Watch as He rains, sometimes drop by drop. Watch as He pushes back the shores to gather more. Watch as He drowns the darkness. Watch as He well-waters and restores.
These words, love. They will not scatter in this where you are.
Powerful God of every where I am, today please don’t let me forget that you are not a God of the “someday to come” but You are the God of the “this very day in this very place.” Let me be faithful to build my nest here, right here, even if my heart longs for another tree. Let me be faithful to plant my garden here, right here, even if the ground fights to break. Let me be unafraid to love my enemies and to offer rest for the masses. Let me press into truth even when all those around me are captivated by the echoes of the lies. Forgive me for the times I want to hide light and hold back hope, when I want to decide the fate of the where rather than embracing Your presence in it. Today, would You be so kind to reveal glimpses of Your preparation, both in this where and in the where to come?