“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will be present for you, declares the Lord.”
Sometimes it is difficult to trust that our best days are ahead of us and not behind us. If we are lucky, our past contains many precious memories of beloved people and places that fill our hearts with fondness. We may wonder if God’s goodness to us is limited and can continue to produce joy in our lives in the future.
This is especially true when we make a change. I remember crying heartily at several occasions upon our move to Odessa after nearly a decade of living in a community we fiercely loved. I grieved the hills, the trees, the horses in the pasture around the corner, the church, our neighbors, our friends…how could life ever be this rich again?
The people Jeremiah is addressing have had circumstances change drastically due to a war. They are now refugees living in exile, away from their homeland. Jeremiah speaks to them about trusting that God is not yet finished with them, that God is still working for their good, that the future is still open before them, and that God is in it with them.
As our church explores a future beyond the beloved buildings we’ve cherished for 70 years, we might wonder if our best days are behind us. As our lives change when children grow, jobs change, or loved ones die, we might be tempted to think our glory days are over.
Not so, says the word of the Lord to Jeremiah. Keep seeking God’s guidance where you are. God promises to be found by us when we seek in our current circumstances. Finding God is like finding a feast set before you in the middle of whatever you’re dealing with- a feast of friendship and joy and deep peace. A feast that gives us strength for stepping into the future.
A future filled with hope is the gift of God for the people of God. Thanks be to Go!