Daily Devotions are published Tuesday-Saturday during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NRSV)
For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
In the past month, we have lost the ability to plan. I watched Plan A quickly go out the window, then Plan B….I think I’m somewhere around Q or R right now. Because of the pandemic, we can no longer think more than a day, maybe a week ahead. It’s frustrating. It’s defeating. It can feel hopeless.
These verses in Jeremiah, part of a letter he writes to the people in exile, have often been used in times when comfort is needed. But I think if we pay more attention, these verses should instead really be challenging to us.
Notice the tense that Jeremiah uses in verses 10-14. I will fulfill my promise to you; I will hear you; you will find me; I will restore your fortunes, I will gather you, I will bring you back from exile. It’s all in the future.
Jeremiah is challenging us to trust in a plan that hasn’t yet happened. Do we know when this plan will happen? No. Do we know how it will happen? No. Do we know if this plan will resemble any of our own plans? No. This is a plan that we have no control over. This doesn’t exactly feel comforting.
The challenge here is to let go of our control and trust anyways. When we let go of everything else, only when our hands are empty and we have no control, then we can hold onto the trust in God’s ultimate redemptive plan. Let go. Hold on.
Almighty God, give us the strength to let go of our control. Give us the trust to hold on, instead, to your merciful promise. Give us the faith to know that your plan is better than any that we could ever imagine for ourselves. Amen.