I wrote this in June 2010, exactly a year before I started to work in church full-time. It’s great to be reminded that God allows us to hear Him clearly and when we obey, even when things are not too clear yet, our hindsight often gives us understanding, then we can say, “His ways are ALWAYS higher.”
And as I read through this, I can’t help but say, “Ria, you had no idea that that step of obedience will bring you where you are right now, and trust that as you keep in step with the Spirit, you will keep finding your purpose in Him.“
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 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.” — Jeremiah 29:4-7
For some months now, I have been asking and asking from God which direction He is taking me, for He promised that “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jer 29:13)” and “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Luke 11:9)”.
I admit, my three weeks in Singapore has sorely tempted me to leave everything behind in the Philippines and to just stay in the comfort and luxury that Singapore has to offer– clean air, a great transportation system, a perfect training ground for triathlon, marvelous buildings, amazing amenities like swimming pool and sauna, a government that has been listed as the third least corrupt, and of course, relatively cheaper gadgets and travel fares to other Asian nations =).
But does being comfortable equate to having peace? I am not talking about the kind of rational peace you get from having security in a high salary or having security in the justice system and the police. The goal of Christians is to have “peace that transcends all understanding.” This is the kind of peace that only being in the center of God’s will can bring, it is beyond logic and beyond reason. It is when you are in tune with God and you know that you know that you know that you are aligned to His will and His desires.
The exiles of Israel to Babylon must not have felt comfortable. After all, they were strangers in another country, and worse, they came from being first class citizens favored by God to being outcasts in a strange land. There is nothing more embarrassing for them than getting “downgraded” in their social status. And yet, God has commanded them to BUILD and be PROSPEROUS in the place where He has called them to be.
It does not matter where your Babylon is right now.
For some of us, it’s being stuck in the Philippines, where there are traffic jams and air pollution and high crime rates and we yearn for the comfort, security and luxury of life in a developed country.
For some of us, it’s being in a developed country, and we yearn for the comforts of home and familiar faces and places.
For some of us, it’s being in the mission field, struggling with communicating with the locals and with adjusting to unique gastronomic challenges and we yearn to speak our native language and to eat familiar food.
I know right now that God has called me to BUILD and to PROSPER where He is calling me, and I just have to trust Him. As he said further down Jeremiah 29, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”