This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jermiah 29:10-14 NLT
Ever had a time in your life in which you felt forgotten by God? Who hasn’t, right?
A few seasons ago, I went through a dark, grey, gloomy season of my life. As the weather went from the warm summer air to the crisp, colorful autumn leaves, to the colorless winter, I was facing my own monochrome world. The color of my life had disappeared right before my eyes. Some things were happening that I didn’t understand and I was just clinging for dear life to the hem of His garment.
I was hunting for hope. Hope that would only come from one place. I knew that God was in control, and I knew that He is good. All the time.
The only thing I could do during this time was focus on the many ways God had never let me down before. I had to turn my attention outward. Because the more I focused inward, the more I felt barren and bleak.
I took the time to focus on the One who loves me most. I remembered His character. That He is loving and faithful; He is full of light, there is no dark in Him; He patiently woos the hearts of His children, and He was pursuing me.
How did I make it through this difficult season?
To be completely honest, I struggled. I fought feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, and incompleteness. I battled with my self-worth and self-value.
Then, I continued with the most important habit anyone can have ~ my quiet time, my Bible study.
Each and every day, I woke and met Him. Whether I felt like it or not. Whether I slept well or not. Whether I thought He would meet me there or not, I sought His heart for me.
I was involved in an online Bible study in which I was accountable to other amazing women. And guess what? They lifted me with their prayers. Their kind words soothed my soul. Their encouragement helped me realize that I would make it through. And not just make it, but THRIVE in spite of it.
I read His sweet love-letter to me. I read that He has a heart for me. That He has the hairs on my head numbered. That He knew me before He formed me.
A Season of Captivity
I even read in the words of the prophet Jeremiah what I had been feeling, that I would be in Babylon for 70 years. Now, I wasn’t in the literal Babylon for a full 70 years. But it felt like it. No, instead, I was in a place of waiting. And not very patiently, I might add.
No, I wasn’t in Babylon, but I was told by God to just chill there. Get comfy. And, Lord have mercy, I needed to be patient.
You know what came after the 70 years? After the waiting and the patience? God says that He will do all the good things He has promised. He will bring me home again. Why does He do this? Because He knows the plans He has for me. He knows. He knows so I don’t have to. My job isn’t to know or to figure out what His plans are for me. That’s His job. My job is to trust. And to praise him while I’m waiting in the hallway for Him to open the door.
But here’s the catch. See what comes after He declares He knows His plans for me? In verse 13 we are told, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (NIV).
We will find Him when we seek Him wholeheartedly, with our whole hearts. Not a part of our hearts. Not just the piece that wants His blessing. Not the small place where we need His favor. No. Our whole heart. Entirely. Fully. Completely.
See, this is given as a directive, because He knows how fickle we humans are. He knows how we can flit from one interest to the next in the blink of an eye. He knows how divisive we can be with one another. He knows that the only way to be completely content and satisfied with Him is if we are 100% sold out to Him.
Well, friends, here is where I tell you how neat and tidy things turned out. Right? Wrong! Did I come out of my slump? Yes, absolutely. Did I come out of it stronger and with a renewed faith in my God? YES!
The literal and proverbial spring came, and things began to brighten for me, including my perspective.
Do I still struggle sometimes? Yes, of course. But when I do, I go back to His character and the knowledge that He will work all things for my good.
He will end my season of captivity and bring me home again, to my own land. Which is with Him, right where I want and need to be.
Michelle Nehrig-Shultheis is a daughter of the King of Kings. She loves Jesus, her husband, and their family, which includes her two biological children, Emma and Elijah, and her bonus daughter, Madisyn.
Michelle is grateful for the grace that is heaped upon her daily by her heavenly Daddy. She is still learning how to accept it for the gift that it is. You can find her thoughts, life-lessons, and sometimes comical adventures with her animals at: beauty in between.
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