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Monday, April 21, 2014

Embrace the Captivity

Many of the interviews I did for my book, The Precipice: When Everything We Know Ends, dealt with fear. Likewise, many concerns I’ve had from readers is that they’re apprehensive Christians will be engulfed with fear at the realities I present in the book.

One Bible story that helps me deal with fear induced by current events is found in Jer 28-29

Here we see the false prophet Hananiah telling the Israelites their captivity was soon to end. This was a message the peopled wanted to hear. This gave them hope their struggles were soon to end and God was going to bless them again.

Jeremiah disagreed. 

In fact, Jeremiah reminded the people that it was GOD who placed them in the captivity (Yes, it can be God’s will for us to be in a “not so pleasant place”). Further, he told them they were going to be there for a LONG time (roughly 70 years). 

This was NOT a message they wanted to hear. It filled them with dread. Seventy years in captivity! How angry was God?

But Jeremiah didn’t end his message there. 

God wasn’t angry. 

God had a plan. And that plan involved not only captivity for His people, but that they also EMBRACE IT.

Jer 29:4-7 says, This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 

Did you catch that?

God put them there (captivity from their homeland) and they were to be happy about it. At least that’s how I read it.

People who build houses, grow crops, raise families and seek success for the entire community are people who take pride in their surroundings and enjoy the life they are building. They’re flourishing

They aren’t bewailing the situation God has put them in. 

They aren’t looking for prophets to give them false hope.

They aren’t upset God is taking so long to bring deliverance.

They aren’t biding their time (70 years)…they’re making life happen now.

They’re content.

They’re trusting God and enjoying the abundant life found in John 10:10

This tells me that no matter happens in America, or around the world, we can thrive

We don’t have to lose hope.

We don’t have to look for false prophets, or preachers, to peddle lies to ease our anxious hearts. (click to tweet)

Being firmly grounded in who we are in Christ, we can look at the Current Events plaguing us and say, “It’s okay. God has it all under control. I’m not going to fret. I’m going to go about my life until God calls me home.”

Until our time here is over, we must make the most of whatever situation (captivity) we are in- be it financial strain, declining health, stressful job, tense relationships, or whatever (all are types of captivity and all are in God’s sovereign hands). 

So no matter what transpires in the world, go about God’s instruction to build a home, settle in the captivity until He brings deliverance, plant gardens, make a family so the Christian numbers don’t decrease, find peace in Him and seek the prosperity of your surroundings so that God’s light will continue to shine (Matt 5:14-16).

I don’t know how long your personal captivity will be. Just trust that God’s timing is perfect and He isn’t far away. He wants you to be happy, even in your captivity. 

Lastly, remember, sometimes He calm’s the storm and other times He calm’s His child. But not matter what, He’s near and there is no reason to fear- don’t take my word for it, take God’s. 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.John 16:33 NIV

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