In context, this verse is the cry of a people for restoration to God through repentance of their sins. The verse brought me some other thoughts. They are related to a need that many of us living in constant pain or illness must face at some time – an acceptance of our “new selves”.
My own cry and one I have heard from others is a longing to be as we once were before our afflictions brought such change. The cries could be a longing for a career cut short, for a body that functions normally, for dreams no longer possible. A feeling of being diminished settles in, of being useless and set apart from the place in the world we once had occupied.
These feelings are real. We no longer are fully capable in ways we once experienced. It is as if we need a lens prescription from the Lord so we can get this new life in focus.
“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 29:14b NIV). I am not saying that God causes our afflictions, but that they have sent us into a type of exile that only He with our permission can reverse. Assuredly, He is carrying us and He has His plans for us still intact. The plans may not be what we had planned – thus an adjustment is necessary so our eyes can again be focused on Him.
His love has never ceased. He is asking to be Lord of our lives in ways we have never imagined. We are not diminished. He honors us as we are given His strength to serve Him in new ways – in ways He had planned all along. Rather than faint, He wants us to be encouraged that our life with Him and in Him is still vital.
Prayer: Lord, help me to seek You with all my heart so that You can show me through your eyes the new ways You are leading me to serve You. Amen.
About the Author:
Lynn Severance is a retired elementary classroom teacher. She lives in Lynnwood, Washington. She writes to encourage others as God has encouraged her during 27 years of living with daily physical challenges.