“I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”
— Jeremiah 29:10
Jeremiah sent this message from God to the people of Jerusalem who were exiled in Babylon. The people had sinned against God for many years, so the Lord had sent the king of Babylon to conquer them and take them away. Some were optimistic that their exile would be temporary, but God said the exile would last for seventy years, which for many would be a lifetime.
Sometimes a crisis in our lives can seem like a time of exile. When will things go back to normal again? When our health returns, when our relationships are mended, when our temptations have passed, when our injustices are addressed. But what if God lets this go on for a lifetime?
I imagine that the recipients of Jeremiah’s letter were not excited by what it said. Seventy years meant that most of them would not be able to go back to enjoy the good things they had before. Yet God called them to live as if they were at home in the place where they were now living. God urged them to trust that he could extend his saving work and build his kingdom through them even in their current situation.
As God’s people adapt and seek to live for him in the new situations where they find themselves, they grow to see more of God’s character. His plan is to give us hope and a future—and he does that through the finished work of Christ.
Father, help us to live with hope and confidence as we await your coming kingdom. Thank you for your good plans for us in Christ. Amen.