OK, let’s talk about “in the meantime. You know…the “what am I supposed to be doing in the meantime?” What am I supposed to be doing now in this exile?
If we are in a “waiting time,” “a desert,” “exile,” or other somewhat undesirably challenging place called by whatever creative name you choose to use,… what do we do in the meantime as we wait for God to lead us to that “future and hope” that he promised in Jeremiah 29:11. But, Lord, what about right now?
In Why Wait Through the Wandering, I wrote about that hope and future in Jeremiah 29: 11 and the hope it offers at the appointed time AFTER the SEVENTY YEAR exile. I know. It sort of sucks just to hear that again, right? 70 years of exile is in the plan. THEN comes the future and the hope. It is the hope I searched for in my exile, when I was more the betrayer of my Lord and realized I was the prodigal. It is the hope that I now count on when I am feeling the exile because I KNOW THAT GOD KEEPS HIS WORD. He is faithful to His people and keeps His promises and honors our obedience in the time of our exiles.
Let’s talk about the “meantime.” The “meantime” the way God has shown us and that He has talked with me about. Let’s back up to the “meantime” in Jeremiah 29:4-9 (NLT):
4 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7 And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” 8 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, 9 because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the Lord.
Do you see it? There are instructions. “Build,” “plant gardens and eat,” Marry and reproduce and increase in number, “seek the peace and prosperity” of the city of your exile,” “Pray to the Lord” for your community while in exile, and “DO NOT LET THE PROPHETS AND DIVINERS AMONG YOU DECEIVE YOU.” He says He did not send them. DO NOT STOP LIVING WELL AND ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD WHILE YOU ARE IN EXILE. I saw it. I heard it. And I guess He moved me to listen to it. I had to wait. I had to move. I was standing for something but moving in obedience intentionally to His word and His voice.
How does this apply to us? Well, while we are in our exiles, whatever they are…unemployment, separation, deployment, dreams and plans that have not come to fruition just yet, waiting on opportunities we want but that have not been presented yet…you know…whatever the exile is, what instructions is God giving us?
Joshua, being strong and courageous was in the command in Deuteronomy 31:6, then he had to be reminded again…”Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” (Joshua 1:9). Let’s take a look at the list I was given. Read, pray, and consider these for yourself:
Ecclesiastes 11:5-7 keep sowing good seed
1 Peter 3:10-12 Keep your tongue from evil and don’t speak deceit. Do good not evil. Seek peace and pursue peace
Psalm 97: 10-12 hate evil, be glad and give thanks
Deuteronomy 28: 1-14 Be obedient to God’s commands
2Corinthians 10:3-6 Fight the spiritual battles in your life the spiritual way, taking every thought captive
Ephesians 4:1-3 …lead a life worthy of your calling, being humble, gentle and patient with each other.
1Thessalonians 5:17 NEVER stop praying
Luke 11:8 pray persistently and be annoying until God answers (ok,that’s loosely translated but you get the point)
Romans 13:8 Love your neighbor and 1Thessalonians 4:9 and each other
Colossians 2:7 grow deep in Christ and BE THANKFUL (1Thessalonians 5:18 in all circumstances)
1Peter 4:10 and Galatians 5:15 Use your gifts to serve others and your freedom to serve one another in love
And HEBREWS 10:25 DO NOT GIVE UP MEETING TOGETHER AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER!!
There are so many things we must continue to do “in the meantime.” Serve, encourage, pray, focus our thoughts, dig deeper, PRAY, live lives worthy of our calling, be obedient, PRAY CONSISTENTLY AND PERSISTENTLY, (smile), seek peace…pursue peace, speak encouragement and things that build up, BE THANKFUL AND GIVE THANKS in ALL circumstances…and on and on. There are so many things we can work on “in the meantime.” Be available in your churches, your neighborhoods, your family, and your workplaces for God to move through. Sow godly seed and look to see what he will do “in the meantime.”
AND “IN THE MEANTIME,” I am praying for you to see God move in you, your family and your time of exile.
Which instructions are you receiving in your meantime?
Jody-Lynne is a Christ follower who is very grateful to be allowed to walk out her journey by journeying with others in her career and in her service to the church as a counselor. She is a Christ follower that has been the prodigal and the welcoming father at different times and she is humbly grateful for both. She longs to share the work that God has done in her life and encourage others to see the work God can do and is doing in theirs. Her joy is growing and journeying with others.