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Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, it's a few days late, we know, but like so many of you, we took the last couple of days to simply enjoy our family. And what a wonderful day it was. It really was.
So if you have been following our story, LIFE in the Higham house is a little different. Two of the five kids didn't make it home for Thanksgiving. Our number ONE had to work on the days before and after Thanksgiving, so it didn't make sense for him to come home. Number TWO spent Thanksgiving with his family and their extended family. That left the remaining five of us to enjoy Thanksgivings at home.
It's been another year of life change for our household. But God continues to be faithful and patient with us, leaving us much to be thankful for. As we reflect on our year, we are reminded of what it says in Jeremiah 29.
Israel is in exile. God gives Jeremiah words of encouragement and hope to be shared with the people. He says to them, in the midst of their exile, to live. They were to build homes, grow their families, work for the good of the community, trust God, wait on God, and when the time was fulfilled, God would come and move in exciting ways.
It's hard to put ourselves into the full context of the letter. We've not been in exile, but we are learning to wait. In the waiting, we're learning to live; to care for our family, to build community, to serve and minister where we are, and to trust God as we wait. What are we waiting for? Well, like the Israelites, we're waiting for God to move. We're waiting for the, 'What's Next.'
In Jeremiah 29:10b, we read, "I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place." (ESV) That's a promise. God was working, even in the waiting. While the Israelites lived in exile, God was working, teaching His people how to wait on Him. While waiting, they were called to live and prosper where they were, but to keep their eyes and hearts on God.
Jeremiah 29:11, a super popular. You've probably heard it. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV) We have to be careful to read this verse and NOT take it out of context. This is not a promise of prosperity and blessing. It's not a promise that God only wants good things for us. And it's not a promise that if your faith is strong enough, your life will be great.
God had a purpose and a plan for His people, for ALL people. But sometimes God's plan includes waiting. Israel was in exile. Yet, in exile, Israel was called to live and serve. The promise was that God would not abandon them, but in time bless them. Here's the thing, the plan, it was God's plan, not Israel's plan. It was welfare according to God. It was a future according to God. It was a hope, according to God. It was God's plan.
Too often we find ourselves focused on our purposes and plans, and we wonder why God isn't moving fast enough, if He's moving at all. We see what's in front us, sometimes only what's in front of us. When we're in this place of short-sightedness, we have to remind ourselves that God is sovereign.
We believe that God is sovereign and in control of all things. We believe that He continues to fulfill His purpose and plan, even today. And, we believe that right now, He is working for our good and on our behalf. He has a plan in the midst of waiting. And as we wait, we're learning. We're learning to trust Him in new ways. We're learning to do new things. We're learning how to be obedient with new callings.
The Israelites were to build houses, marry and grow their families, and work towards the good of community. In many ways, we feel like this is our season to care for our family and connect with our community. God is doing something. We can see it peeking over the horizon.
As we reflect on this Thanksgiving season, and on the past 11 months, we have so much to be thankful for. And while we aren't ready to share everything just yet, a time is coming where we hope to be able to tell you all that God is and has been doing. What we can tell you is that God is Good. He really is. And He loves us deeply, even in the seasons of waiting.
We have been reminded of Romans 8:28, often. Paul writes, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 ESV) We live according to God's purpose, not ours. That means that while we wait, we know that we are fulfilling God's purposes here in the now and for what's to come.
Trust comes through faith. Faith comes from God. We pray that as you come to the end of your year, you might pause. Pause and survey landscape. Ask yourself these questions...
We have much to be thankful for this year, particularly God's promise of a future and a hope!
- jay & amy
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