Next steps –

Filling out job applications, taking chances on jobs that you are not even sure you are qualified for, hearing rumors about possible openings, trying to verify said rumors . . . it’s exhausting!

I’ve had several people “remind” me of Jeremiah 29:11 – “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 a hope and future.” I say “remind” because I happen to have that verse memorized. But there is something about the context of that verse that I tend to forget because it is NOT comforting.

Jeremiah is talking to the nation of Israel which has been taken into exile. They are refusing to “settle in” because false prophets are more than willing to tell them what they want to hear – that God is going to take them home soon! Then Jeremiah shows up with God’s REAL message which is “Ya’ll better settle in and get used to life in Babylon because you are here to stay for the next 70 years. Have kids, marry them off, plant gardens, build homes . . . become a part of the community because I am not taking you home for awhile.”

Think about what probably happened in that 70 years. Loved ones died, children married into local families, children were born who had never known anything but Babylon . . . this wasn’t an easy message for the people of God to hear! And when the 70 years was up, what happened? They returned to the land God had promised them, yes, but they left behind those who had died and been buried in Babylon and there might have even been some of those children who were married off that decided Babylon was home. So when I think about the phrase, “I know the plans I have for you” in it’s original context, it’s not exactly comforting! And don’t worry – I’m fairly certain that the good-hearted people that feel it necessary to quote that verse to me do not mean to imply that my situation won’t change for 70 years!

There is another verse that I have memorized that I much prefer right now to find comfort in. Zephaniah 3:17 says “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Believe me, my thoughts and my heart have needed some quieting in recent days.

Situations like the one I now find myself in are a clear lesson that I DO NOT possess much patience. Summer is around the corner and the next school year will be here before I know it. There are some job issues I would like to have settled before then, people who need to be notified if I will not be available to help fulfill their needs, and in my limited, finite, understanding it would be helpful if I could give them plenty of advanced warning! But, as I said, my understanding is limited and finite and I’m desperately trying to trust that the same God who will lead me to “the next thing” will keep those people from being furious if I must give them a very late “no”. He can also sustain me through another life-draining year like the one I just had. Knowing what to expect would be nice. Then again, that wouldn’t require trust would it?

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