It’s been a while since I last dug deep and shared what I found. Here goes.

I have a persistent melancholy spirit.
I struggle with a daily rehearsal of watching the horizon and reprimanding myself for it.
I am unsettled. Discouraged. Lacking in love.
I live with one eye over my shoulder longing for the Zion I knew and one ahead to take a day at a time.

Jeremiah 29 has come to mind several times in the last year and 1/2. These few verses have been a billboard lately.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

(Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV)

This chapter has been in others’ hearts, as well. It holds so much meaning and each interpretation is as true as the next. God has so much to say through his Word to each of us. Like a multi-faceted diamond. A dear friend wrote about God speaking to her about being scattered to sow seed in the different places we’ve all landed, to share what He taught us in different contexts with different people. I say, “Amen!”… although that is a much harder assignment than I ever dreamed.

In the past few weeks with circumstances remaining unchanged, I’ve been wrestling with the same passage, looking at that diamond from a different angle.

It goes back to waking up each day and running to the window to see if anything different is on the horizon. It’s been pretty tough here. Will this be the day He brings a new opportunity to consider? Will something drastic happen in our present situation that will force a change? Will the day bring dramatic confirmation of a home- either here or elsewhere? I can tell you, it’s exhausting. Why would I keep doing that when I don’t find peace? There must be pay-off in some way. There is, but it’s cheap and it’s fleeting. It’s a form of hope tied up in expecting rescue which keeps me going in a way. If I stop running to the window, will I miss it? If I allow myself to settle in and truly call this home, it feels like we’ve moved backward, not forward.

I’ve been meditating on thoughts from Matthew Henry’s Commentary…

“He bids them think nothing but settling down there; and therefore let them resolve to make the best of it. That they must not feed themselves with hopes of a speedy return out of their captivity, for that would keep them still unsettled and consequently uneasy; that they would… be tiring themselves with the expectations of relief; and their disappointment at last would sink them into despair and make their condition much more miserable than otherwise it would be…. If they live in the fear of God, what should hinder them but they may live comfortably in Babylon? They cannot but weep sometimes when they remember Zion. But let not weeping hinder sowing; let them not sorrow as those that have no hope, no joy; for they have both.”

Think nothing but settling down. Their disappointment would sink them into despair and make their condition worse. They cannot but weep when they remember Zion. Let not weeping hinder sowing. Let them not sorrow as those without hope or joy, for they have both. Yeah. Not what my flesh feels but I know it’s truth.

“Meek and quiet people, that work and mind their own business, have often found much better treatment, even with strangers and enemies, than they expected… He directs them to seek the good of the country where they were captives, to pray for it, to endeavor to promote it. This forbids them to attempt any thing against the public peace while they were subjects to the king of Babylon… Both the wisdom of the serpent and the innocency of the dove required them to be true to the government they lived under.”

Oh wow, that is a hard thing to hear. We feel definitely feel like we’ve endeavored to promote this place in different ways. We’ve worked for the good of the city. That definition of ‘good’ is not shared and the proverbial slaps across the face sting. But that’s not the point, is it? Be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. I’ll be honest- I don’t know what that means in each situation. I can be sure, though, that it won’t be the easy way. It will be the way that respects people and speaks graciously and forgives quickly and steps back in line to try again. It won’t feel like I’m ‘winning’.

I want to tie this up with a pretty bow. Make it look like it’s a lesson that I’ve learned and that I’m settled in it. I have days like that but I couldn’t say that my heart is generally content and settled. And that frustrates me about myself. It seems like after this long, I should be able to do that, to feel that way. What I can say is that I very distinctly hear the voice of Jesus inviting me to give Him my worries, hurts, disappointments and future one at a time. The past couple of weeks it has been one day at a time, and some of those days, one hour at a time. He takes them and assures me that there is a good and loving Plan behind all of the pain. He’s shown me some of the blessings He’s given along the wilderness road. He reminds me of his own sacrifice- in death, yes, but also in sacrificing his true Home to become human. Jesus endured. He had a home, a job, He constantly rubbed up against people who grated on him and still lived his life always pointing to his Father. I believe that I can live like that, that He came to show how to do just that. If I get too worked up about it, I’ll miss the point. What does it mean TODAY? Let not weeping hinder sowing…

My dear friend, Sierra, sent a link to a song the other day. It’s been on repeat since. I hope it brings encouragement to your soul wherever you are.