"Don't Exile During Exile!"

As I write this piece, a dome of extreme temperatures is producing suffocating heat indices over much of the country. National meteorologists are starting their daily weather forecasts with predictions of temps in the low to mid-nineties all the way up to the triple digits in several cities. The scope of this heat wave is record-setting, and the impact is coast to coast! Hardly anyone is being spared from north to south! Subsequently, our area in the Midwest has been suffering from draught conditions for weeks. This is serious and unprecedented! It feels like a “climate exile” of sorts!

Image credit: ejgn
pixabay.com

The word exile suggests that a person is in a place he or she does not wish to be and with people they do not wish to be around. I was engaged in a recent Bible study from the time of Jeremiah, one of God’s prophets. He served during a time in Israel’s history when God’s people were captives and exiled by the Babylonian Empire. Israel found themselves held against their wills in a foreign land alongside a foreign people.

Jeremiah received this word from the Lord for this time, “Build houses…put in gardens…marry and have children…make yourselves at home…and pray for Babylon’s well-being!” God’s instruction was ironic and must have shocked their sensibilities. Why would a captive people want to get on with their lives in such a strange place with pagan peoples? Why should they pray for the enemy? Well, the short answer God gave to His people was “If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you!” (Jeremiah 29:5-7, MSG).

What is your predicament or season of exile? Where do you find yourself? How are you feeling stuck in life or jammed up? What is the place or situation in which you are being held captive? Maybe this exile is the result of some choices you have made. Perhaps your situational conflict is due to something out of your control. Regardless, you feel trapped, defeated, and without hope. You can’t see any way out of this! Many of us have had moments of despair to one degree or another.

On a much lighter note, I can remember several Christian college students joining their voices in singing hymns on Sunday nights at church before final exams. These anxious souls were able to find some solace in these affirmations, “Trials dark on every hand and we cannot understand all the ways that God would lead us through that blessed Promised Land; but He’ll guide us with His eye, and we’ll follow till we die; we will understand it better by and by.”

Our confidence would be restored with that blessed chorus of poetic hope, “By and by, when the morning comes, when the saints of God are gathered home, we will tell the story how we’ve overcome; we will understand it better by and by.” (When the Morning Comes, Charles A. Tindley; arr. B.B. McKinney).

When you find yourself depressed by an undesirable employment situation, a family issue that is challenging, a nagging crisis of health or something else that is holding you down, remember this bit of counsel, “Don’t exile during exile!” Keep your faith in an active, forward moving gear when the way is bumpy! Don’t retreat or disengage when the going gets tough. Rather, “Bloom where you are planted!” (St. Francis de Sales).  

God is Sovereign and still in control! He is still on His throne even when you feel like hunkering down, withdrawing, or running away during difficult and exile-like times. Remember that you can always trust God who is faithful in all circumstances. Jeremiah told God’s people, “Don’t exile during exile!” Instead, “Plant and live your life, stay involved in your faith community, and pray about the things that hold you captive!” Being where you are may just be the right place for now!

The Apostle Paul acknowledged what we know by experience, “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears, and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” (1 Corinthians 13:12, MSG).

Let’s persevere with God’s grace and “We will tell the story how we’ve overcome; we will understand it better by and by!”

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I was truly blessed by this blog!I find myself in exile because of my bad back. I am really trying to count my blessings and do all I can while in exile. I am putting out my yard flag that says Bloom where you are planted. See you SOON!🤗🤗🙏🙏❤️❤️

    ReplyDelete
  2. One day at a time. Keep on keeping on

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