At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of things were put on hold: going to workplaces or schools, visiting friends and relatives, attending church and live performances, eating in cafes, playing team sports. Bit by bit, restrictions are being lifted, but we long for the day when everything will return to ‘normal’ and we can get on with our lives.
I wonder if the Israelites felt like that when they were taken into captivity in Babylon? God had promised to bring them home after seventy years (Jer. 29:10), but the delay must have seemed like a devastating blow at first. How could they worship God in a strange land (see Psalm 137:1–4)? Yet God had a plan for them, even in the pagan city of their enemies.
“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage …. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jer. 29:4–7).
They weren’t to put their lives on hold. They were to keep living, and not only live, but prosper.
It’s so easy to put things off. ‘As soon as my career is established, I’ll spend time with my family.’ ‘As soon as the kids are at school, I’ll take that art class.’ ‘As soon as I feel better, I’ll read my Bible.’ There are seasons when we need to rest, recuperate, grieve or take stock of our lives. But if we keep putting things on hold until the ‘right’ time, we may miss some of the wonderful opportunities God has for us. The ‘right’ time, may be sooner than we think.
Thank you, Lord, that you have good things in store for me, regardless of my circumstances. Even when things are hard, help me to follow you and live well. Amen.
Q1 Have you put off some things until the ‘right’ time? Pray about whether you could be moving forward with any of those.
Q2 Read Jesus’ words in John 10:10. What would it mean for you to live life to the full?