So. You think you have it bad? Check this.
In 605 BC the Babylonians sacked the first Jewish temple and destroyed Jerusalem. 940,000 people associated with the temple were killed - priests, high officials, members of the Sanhedrin, maidens, and children. And several million more killed inside and outside the city.
The common and poorest of people who survived were allowed to stay and work the fields. And about 10,000 Jewish elite were carted off as “hostages” to Babylon (Daniel being one of them).
It’s the equivalent of being at church one day and the entire place is sacked during worship, everyone is killed, the city burned down, your family killed, your home taken and given away to the poor, and then being carted off to a foreign land.
While in Babylon, the Jewish people thought God had forgotten them and that they were to be miserable in their new land. Yep. Even the prophets were WRONGLY telling them to be ashamed and miserable.
Then, Jeremiah sends a letter to those exiled.
In that letter The Lord said they should find wives, marry, settle down, have kids, build homes, plant gardens, reap the benefits of their labor, increase in number and prosper.
The Lord said, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
You may feel like an outsider.
You may feel like you don’t belong.
You may feel like there is no end.
You may feel like there is great loss.
You may feel like your best days are behind you.
But God says bloom right where you are.
And bloom guilt free. Free of shame from past disasters.
70 years later, as promised, they went back home to Israel.
GOD HAS PLANS FOR YOU!
GOD WILL DELIVER YOU!
In the meantime.
Grow. Bloom. Multiply.
Be a blessing!