Devotionals by Other People

Hope For Life’s “Certain Uncertainties”—Jeremiah 29:11 #BibleStudy

Today’s post is another gem written by friend and guest blogger Evangeline Rose Whitlock, a professional stage manager and visiting professor in Baylor University’s theatre department. I’m delighted to share this journey with her, grateful for her contribution, and pleased to offer her encouraging insights with you today. – Christy

Pray

Lord, thank you for precious days off.  As I sit here in the quickly fading light of day, wrapped in the warmth of a southern California evening, my heart overflows with gratitude for your salvation and your love.  Thank you for bringing me to this calm and quiet place.  As I turn now to your word, help me to rest in the eye of the storm – always gazing toward you and keeping my eyes forever on the prize of heaven and eternal life with you.

Read

An oldie but a goodie: Jeremiah 29:11-14

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil; to give you future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart I will be found by you, says the Lord.” (RSV)

Reflect

This is a verse I memorized very early on in my Bible study days.  There was a praise and worship chorus we used to sing of this verse.  It’s one of those passages I return to often and always find new nourishment.  I meditate on this every time I’m nervous or fearful about what’s coming up next in life.  Every time I find myself between jobs.  Or the converse – when I’m so thrilled about what the next year of my life is going to bring I literally jump for joy.

A freelancer’s life entails a certain amount of uncertainty.  I’ve had to become okay with this “certain uncertainty” and truly claim Jeremiah’s passage as my own.

I come back to it today because I find myself longing for a chapter of my life that has concluded and I’m looking for assurance from God that this is where he wants me.  That where I am sitting right now – this lovely little corporate apartment complex in Toluca Lake – is where he wants me.  That what I’ve moved on to do in the last couple months is where God wants me. That these are the plans he has for me.

For once this post is not coming to you from a plane!  I’m back in SoCal for work, where I spent four and a half blissful years as a graduate student and freelance stage manager. I relocated to Texas in January to begin a new chapter as a visiting professor at Baylor University.  Now that I’m back for a spell – I find myself wondering why did I ever, ever leave here?  The land of eternal sunshine?  Of beaches and mountains in the same vista?  The easygoing, laid back attitude?  The “it’s okay to wear yoga pants to the grocery store…and to church…and to work…and to wherever” mentality.

God wants me to call upon him; he wants me to seek him.  The moments of extreme uncertainty and extreme joy are when I call upon God the most.  God places me in these moments often because he wants me to seek him with all my heart, so that he can be found by me.  When I read these verses again today, I understand them in a new light.  God is assuring me that his plans are the right plans.  And that when I trust in his plans, THEN I will call upon him (which is what he wants) and he promises that he will hear!  When I trust his plans, THEN I will seek him (also what he wants!) and he promises to be found!  It’s like God is looking me straight in the eye (and heart) and saying, Alright Evangeline, I’ve got big plans for you – so seek me with all your heart and I will be here ready and waiting with those amazing plans!

God knows when we need moments of grace to help us understand that he knows the plans he has for us and help us understand see that our calling and our seeking is not in vain!

Tonight a woman approached me at the grocery store and asked if my name was Evangeline.  A little surprised, I said yes, and then immediately recognized her as a Facebook friend I’ve never actually met in person.  She’s a high school friend of my parents, she lives in LA, and since I moved to California my dad has been trying to get us to connect.  Facebook is all we were able to manage, until tonight.  And the reason she actually recognized me in person?  Because she recognized my dad.

I found this fascinating and the highest of compliments.  Joan was able to recognize me in the grocery store because she saw my father in my countenance.

What if everyone around us were able to see our heavenly Father in our countenance – and recognize us only because they recognize our FATHER (who art in heaven)?

I want to continue to seek God and find him – to call upon him and grow ever closer to him in the midst of my uncertainty so that others may recognize him through me.  God knows the plans that he has for me.  What I think of as uncertainty in my life is in truth God’s perfect, perfect, plan, to help keep me on the straight and narrow, always seeking after him, so that others may recognize Him in me.

Apply

When do you find yourself calling upon God the most?  What is a moment of grace he has given you to help you see that he hears your calling out?  Reflect on these moments and give thanks that the Lord knows the plans he has for you.

Know that those moments of grace are God telling you, I know the plans I have for you.   Sit back into God’s plan for your life. Find one way this week that you can help others recognize God through you and rejoice in his love and salvation.

And have a blessed week.

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One thought on “Hope For Life’s “Certain Uncertainties”—Jeremiah 29:11 #BibleStudy

  1. Evangeline, one aspect of this passage that I love to consider is that, when Jeremiah gave this message to the Israelites, they were in the middle of a really, really rough time. They were living in exile, uncertain of their future. Yet the Lord instructed them to be salt and light, even in their exile. He instructed them to contribute to the flourishing of the city where they were exiled—not just “grin and bear it.”

    “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.”

    I love that, even while they were waiting for their future hope, they were to live with present hope. And even though their deliverance from exile would not come for 70 years, they could still live lives of flourishing and peace.

    “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise vand bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, yand I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me awith all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, band I will restore your fortunes and cgather you from all the nations and all the places dwhere I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”

    There is a very good reason that this passage is “an oldie but a goodie” and one of the most-memorized “life verses” of all. Because life is FULL of certain uncertainties—yet God’s hope is sure, both now—and in the days and years to come.

    Thanks for this great reminder today!

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