Foolish Decisions

Have you ever made a foolish decision and then just had to live with it for what seemed like too long a time? Or maybe you’ll have to live with some consequences for the rest of your life?

Today, as I continued my slow (but good) progress through Jeremiah, I found myself in chapter 29. In the first half, Jeremiah has written a letter to those in exile in Babylon and is telling them what God has to say to them, which is that they will be in exile for quite a while….for 70 years. So, they should get on with their lives: 5 ‘Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease.

They should not give up and pine away or just sit on their hands waiting for a quick rescue from their current circumstances. And not only should they get on with their own lives, but they should invest in their new location: 7 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 have welfare.’


What Would You Say?

What if Jesus came and sat down next to you on your couch and said, “Look, I know it’s going to be hard, but I need you to go through a rough trial. Your experience with me in the midst of this trial and your humble and trusting response to it are going to be very important in the life of someone you love. And, please, remember that I’ll be with you always, every step of the way, supplying the strength and comfort you need.” What would you say?

He would present good reasons: What if your child will learn life-changing lessons about leaning on God, by watching you trust Him through a tough time? What if a spouse will be strengthened in their own walk by journeying with you through the fire? What if a neighbor needs to see evidence of your faith, in order to believe in Christ for herself/himself? What if a fellow believer will need to be comforted by the same comfort that you’ve received? (Or what if they need to minister to YOU in your hardship in order to mature?) What if your faith needs to become more fit and muscular by tribulation, in order for you to be useful to God…for you to impact the people around you? These children, spouses, neighbors, and fellow believers are all people that we’ve been called to love. Are we willing to suffer for their sake, as Jesus did for ours? Are we willing to suffer for the gospel’s sake…keeping in mind that the gospel is not just about one-time conversion, but is also discipleship and maturing in the faith?