Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare [peace] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
“I don’t know.” That’s probably the most consistent thought in many of our minds these days. We must act on the advice of experts but we are dealing with unknown risk levels. No matter how much information we consume about mitigating the danger of our exposure to Corona virus it’s not enough to ease our minds completely when the time comes for one of those essential trips out of the safety of the exile of self-isolation. Jeremiah reminds us God has a plan and Corona virus is not the only danger of our exile.
“A people in such a position as the Jews in Babylon were in danger in two ways: either to be buoyed up with false hopes, and so to fall into foolish expectations; or, to fall into despair, and have no hope at all, and so become a sullen and degraded people, who would be unfit for restoration, and unable to play the part which God ordained for them in the history of mankind.” (Spurgeon 1887).
God knows the plan even if I haven’t a clue what it is. Exile from the familiarity of daily life has given me a new awareness I need to be equipped to play the part God has set for my restoration. He’s given me expert advice about the one part of my future and hope I am in charge of. I can do this one thing to be prepared even in the exile of self-isolation! “…Call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”
2 Samuel 14:13 …“Why don’t you do as much for the people of God as you have promised to do for me? You have convicted yourself in making this decision, because you have refused to bring home your own banished son. 14 All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him. NLT
Joab enlisted a wise woman to confront the king about his reluctance to reunite with his own son. The two things that informed my thoughts about this passage are the importance of, and the difficulty of, personal confrontation. My own go-to plan is to avoid it. It’s a ridiculous plan when I logically think about it because confrontation has played a very real part in my own life of faith but in the heat of the moment my response is just like the king’s – try to ignore and escape the situation and the other person involved as well. It’s not a pretty picture but it’s a human response the Lord of Mercy has a plan for. I’ve named it “the wisdom of mortality.”
The wisdom of mortality is exactly what the woman of Tekoa spoke. “Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.” Life doesn’t last forever and that wisdom has made a big difference to me. God has confronted us with our separation from Him through His son, Jesus. The twists, turns and turmoil of life are the proof that we have cracks in our hearts of stone. [v14b] “God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” The wisdom of mortality is that it’s Christ Jesus that is our critical and visible evidence that we’ve been reunited with God.