Four Ways to Be Where You Are, Not Where You Want to Be

April 10, 2020


Strength in the Desert, Part 6

Jeremiah 29:11 has been taken out of context many times, but there is still great truth embedded in this wonderful chapter of Scripture. Israel is about a decade into a 70-year exile, and many of them will not live to see the return to Jerusalem. However, that did not mean that they should just waste the remainder of their lives.

God gave them simple instructions to take comfort and joy in the seemingly mundane things of life right before them. Jeremiah 29 teaches four ways to be where you are, to be settled and patient.

We are not to be anxious, rather enjoy a moment in the mundane while you are waiting on the Lord.

1. Enjoy Your Place

In verses 4-5, God tells Israel to build houses and live in them. They were to make a place for themselves and prepare to live in the present moment. Don’t think yourself unspiritual by enjoying your place in this life. If you have prayed and have sought the Lord, then sometimes the greatest act of faith is to enjoy the moment. That’s what someone who is trusting God for the future does.

2. Enjoy Your Productivity

The second part of verse 5 shows God’s command for them to plant food to eat. They were told to be productive during their time of waiting. Regardless of what you are waiting for, you can do something now which causes increase, output, and yield. Do your job or your hobby in a way that makes a difference and produces something great.

3. Enjoy Your People

Not only was Israel to build homes and farms but families as well. They were to build and establish families and enjoy them during their time of waiting. Spouses, parents, and children should cherish each other right now. Fellow believers should relish their time with each other, not just praying and singing together in church, but the relationships themselves that God has blessed you with.

4. Enjoy Your Proximity

Enjoy and pray for the community around you. Israel was just taken into captivity, but they were to pray for the Lord’s blessing on their community. The Lord may be coming to rescue his people from this world, but while we are still here, we are to obey the instruction of Paul in 1 Tim. 2:1-3. We should pray and strive to make our communities honoring to God.

In our thoughts and prayers, we pray earnestly for those requests that most deeply trouble us, but if you are constantly thinking that your happiness and contentment will finally arrive at some fantasy future moment, you’ve missed the spirit of what Jesus said in Matt. 6:34. We are not to be anxious, rather enjoy a moment in the mundane while you are waiting on the Lord. Be where you are, not where you want to be.

Steve Swartz, D.Min

Dr. Swartz is the senior teaching pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bakersfield, California and author of Shattered Shepherds and Strength in the River. You can hear him on the Steadfast in the Faith broadcast.

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