This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14
Many of us know the “feel good” verse that is Jeremiah 29:11. It has encouraged me many times over my million year life…ok, not a million, but it sometimes feels like it in the dry spots and deserts. What we often miss about the verse is its context. The plans God had for his people were to be looked forward to AFTER the 70 year exile.
I miss that so often when I think that whatever it is I am praying for is clearly in the Lord’s will. It is worth circling and I know the request fits the bill of honoring God’s heart. It should happen now. I know it should. Praying for the salvation of a lost someone…praying for the healing of a loved someone…praying for the temptation never to be seen again in my life because I cannot seem to pass the test… And most significantly for many…praying for the restoration of a marriage that you want the Lord to bless and grow to honor Him from a place of desolation and prodigality (if that is a word…sometimes I make them up, and I thought I should be honest about that, since I love words).
Why would God wait? Why will He not respond to my request and plan for myself and my spouse right now? Why is the waiting so much harder than it sounds? And why are the words above, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon,” so incredibly softer in their writing than in their experience?
So many “why?” questions. Most of which we will never really get the answer to. It is not for us to know the “whys” sometimes. God doesn’t want us to stray and wander. He doesn’t want for us to walk in disobedience, but some of us do at times. Some of us seem to have to in order to come out richer and more intimate with Jesus in the after. I am not sure of the whys, but I have done it. I have wandered. And I have been so very lost that I know I never deserved to be forgiven. Neither do your wandered and prodigal spouses. But there God is and there you are ready to forgive and grow through it. Your steadfastness is a testimony to God. If I did not have people praying for me…I would not have made it.
I write this, not as a spouse, but as one who is so thankful that there was God ready to forgive when I returned. I write this as one who is so humbled that there is you ready to forgive and there is you who is standing up for what is righteous. I write this as one who knows that God KEEPS HIS WORD.
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11
BELOVED, KEEP STANDING!!! God rewards the faithful. It may not always be when we want. It may not always seem to be just what we want. BUT IT IS ALWAYS JUST WHAT WE NEED.
You are prayed for. You are thought of. You are a testimony. YOU ARE HIS. As we journey together in this standing. I know “standing” feels like you aren’t moving at all. But your prayers and standing with and for each other are moving mountains. I am so grateful for the journey that brought me to the passion for praying and the passion for marriages and parenting and families. I stand with you for all of those things. I pray with you and for you, for all of those things.
And mostly, I was a prodigal who came home. I cannot tell you how grateful I was there was somebody waiting and ready to love me and help me to start growing in the right direction again. Thank you for being those “someones” in your prodigal spouse's lives.
In His Great Love and With mine,
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