As my son turns a year old this week, I have been reflecting a lot on the past year as a first time mother. I have worried more this year than I ever have in my life, but I also have never come out more hopefully in the power of my God.
The first year as a mother can be difficult in so many ways. Throw in a year like 2020, and many of us mothers have had an extra level of anxiety and fear to add to the mix.
Early 2021 was not any more promising. I have seen so much division and hatred, even in my Christian communities. So much false information was circulating, and my spirit did not feel right. My heart wanted so badly to seek the truth.
“Lord, there is so much misinformation, please help me seek out the truth,” I prayed to Him.
Jeremiah 29 could not have been more timely.
At this time, God’s people were in exile in Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. I can imagine exile was not a joyous time and was filled with lots of fear and hopelessness. False prophets rose up claiming things in God’s name that were not truth.
Just like the beginning of this year, I believe many held onto these prophecies as truths so Jeremiah was sent to set the record straight.
“‘Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:8-9
Why were God’s people so quick to believe the lies? Because they were reaching for something to hope in - much like many were this year following the election - rather than hoping in Someone.
Let me drop a little truth bomb - true hope is only found in God when we have our eyes fixed on Him, rather than the broken promises of this world. And God offers some hope to His people through Jeremiah in this chapter.
“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity…” Jeremiah 29:11-13
So what does this all have to do with raising children in a fallen world? God gave the exiles instructions while they waited for deliverance.
“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.” Jeremiah 29:5-7
Lord, you mean, in the midst of the hardest time of their lives, you wanted the exiles to raise children??
YES!! This was their hope. This is how they would prosper in a fallen world. There is no time like today to raise up strong warriors for Christ. Changing the world around us starts at home.
Momma, let me tell you - your work raising those children is the most crucial role you will ever take on. If this past year has taught us anything, it is that we need more of God’s love in this world and more of His truth.
We need to turn off the television, unplug from social media, and open God’s word for truth. If we are not seeking truth, the next generation will not have the truth either. Exile is not forever, and we cannot put off life until it is over. Our hope is not in who is on the news station, the politician who leaves empty promises, or the person who is in the presidential seat. Our hope is in who is on the Throne.
When God returns to free us from exile, I do not want to look back realizing I wasted all those years in exile doing nothing. I want to say I placed my hope in God and served Him while I waited. I want to look at my children and know their hope is in the only One who can give them peace.