Yesterday I met with Hunter Stevenson, pastor of North Macon Presbyterian Church. As we wrapped up our meeting, Hunter imparted a few verses to me, including the all too familiar Jeremiah 29:11—For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Hunter encouraged me to read that entire section, not just verse 11 to get the context. You see, this verse is part of a letter that Jeremiah sent to the exiles in Babylon. These were people who longed to return to Israel—to go home. To have a home. But what does Jeremiah tell them?
Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
In other words, this is not an accident. You are here because it is God’s plan. You’re not to suffer as if in jail, but go ahead and lead normal lives—plant, eat, marry, have children….
The lesson for me? My life is not on hold. I’m not in suspended animation. My life will not begin again when I get a job and we move somewhere. Life is right now. I believe it’s R.C. Sproul who coined the phrase, “Right now counts forever.”
I long for this time of my life to be over. I do want to move on. I want to work again. I want Jan and I to have our own place again. I want our cloud to move. But, in the meantime, this is life. Quoting Kelly Chadwick:
I’m not saying the longing for the promise is gone and I’m not saying I want to stay in this wilderness ground forever.
But I am saying that I don’t want to get to the fulfillment only to look back and see clearly all the moments I missed.
The Reader’s Digest version? Live in the now; enjoy today.
In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good • Ecc. 11:6