I’ve been reading the Book of Jeremiah for weeks now. Unfortunately my goal didn’t materialize — it was to reach the Book of Daniel before June ends, but then, there were problems, but now I’m back on track.
Sometime before I had reached Jeremiah, I was excited to reach chapter 29, because my favorite verse can be found there – from verse 11 up to 14a. The whole chapter is actually a letter of God to the remaining captives carried away by King Nebuchadnezzar from Jerusalem to Babylon. Verses 5-7 tell of how God wanted the Israelites to build houses and dwell in that foreign place, to have a family of their own, and to seek the peace of the land through asking God for it. Then here comes verse 11:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Several of them didn’t understand why God would give them to their conquerors, why He was driving them out of the land He Himself had chosen for them. Maybe some of them were asking, “How can God say those words? How can He say we should live normally in a strange land?” Because God knows the future. That’s maybe the frustrating part for us mortals (‘mortals’ talaga..? ^_^). He warned them beforehand of the impending fall of their land, but He also promised them that after 70 years He would punish the king of Babylon and the nation, for their iniquities, and would bring His people back to Israel (Jer. 25:12).
God struck Israel because of their iniquities and stubbornness. He let them be under captivity and used a pagan nation to remind them to go back, to return to Him. He had promised that if they would call unto Him, He will surely answer them; if they seek Him, He will be found (29:13-14).
Whenever we think we cannot see the positive end result of NOW, God assures us that He has prepared something for us along the way — not to hurt us, but for only our good. If it’ll be difficult, it will be because He wants us to learn. If we see ourselves getting farther from God, it is also a reminder that will make us come closer to Him. It is not only for having an abundant life, but an opportunity to be closer to Him again.
Just like God’s purpose for the Israelites, what might be happening to us now has a purpose. Everything happens, as they say, for a reason, because He permits it to happen. That’s the distinction between God’s will and permissive will. He permits it to happen because of our own foolishness and stubbornness (and maybe also of our poor judgment/choice). But, it is His loving way, for us to realize our folly, and be able to return to Him. It’s His way for us to learn. I guess it’s proven that we always learn the hard way. But as a father to his child, He only has the BEST for us. He’s waiting for us to come to Him.