What is your greatest desire in life? And what is right now your most difficult situation in life? And how do to the two relate? If you know Christ, you know what the answer to the first question ought to be.
Your greatest desire ought to be to glorify God, to live so as to reflect the glory of His saving grace in the risen Christ. That’s your heartbeat, but maybe as you read this, that desire feels faint, more like a murmur. Enter, then, your greatest difficulty.
The people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day had been conquered by Babylon, and many of them dragged into captivity there. In the midst of all the sorrow and pain of captivity, certain prophets rose up among them and promised them that the pain would end soon, that they’d be going back home to Jerusalem. But the prophets were lying. The Lord tells Jeremiah to tell the people the hard truth that yes, they would go home, but not yet, not for a long time – not until seventy years were complete.
The Lord has work for us to do. This work is not defined by achieving individualized earthly prosperity; it’s work which may result in the total loss of it. It’s foreshadowed in the work of the exiles who eventually did return to Jerusalem. We’re here to participate in the building of God’s true temple.
When difficulties in our lives drive us to despair, Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that we are not alone, and that we are part of a process way bigger than we are and more glorious than even the full assembly of God’s saints from throughout history could together comprehend. Every cutting disappointment and difficulty we face in this life is part of the Lord’s sculpting and fitting us into his spiritual house, nestled in right next to the rest of our family in Christ.
Together we comprise the building which Christ will one day complete and reveal as the universe’s most spectacular display of the glory of the triune God. Thanks be to God! What prosperity, what a hope and what a future!
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