Thursday, 5 October 2017

Keeping Dreams alive in Captivity

One of my absolute favourite verses of scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. It was the first verse spoken over me when I became a Christian and has been one I have clung to in many seasons of my life.

In July this year. It started to crop up everywhere. Every book I read, every sermon I listened to and every word spoken over me pointed at this verse. After a while I got the God-hint, started to study around the verse and God started to really speak to me.

At the time Jeremiah wrote the famous verse, people had been exiled to Babylon. They had been deported against their will and were living in a foreign land amongst foreign Gods. In the letter her sent to the elders who were living in in Babylon, he instructs them to set up home where they were. He told them to marry, multiply and to pray for the well being of their captor. Jeremiah 29:7 says this:

‘Pursue the well being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf; for when it thrives, you will thrive!’

Jeremiah tells them that they will remain in Babylon for seventy years, then they will be restored to Jerusalem. IT was then that the beautiful verse was spoken. God had a plan for hope and a future for the people, but it would only happen after their time thriving in captivity.

God really spoke to me through this passage. I felt him say to me that at this moment, in parts of my life, I am living in Babylon. It is not a place I have chosen to be in and at times it can look pretty hostile, but I must make use of my time there. He told me to pray into the situation and make the most of it so that I might thrive, especially in the ‘Babylon of infertility.’

Only after thriving in Babylon would the people see God’s good plans come to fruition, and the same is true for my life. As I realised this and submitted to God my Babylon life, I found proverbs 16:3 to be true.

Not long after this, God placed a pretty exciting dream in my heart. One that would help me make sure my time in exile would be a fruitful one in which Gods name would be praised and people’s lives transformed.

However day to day life can so easily take over our God-given dreams, and I soon started to doubt that I had really heard correctly. The dream would take time and commitment and I really didn’t feel I have the time to spare. It would also take strength and tenacity to push the dream forward and I didn’t have that strength.

A short while later, as I was speaking at a local ladies conference, one of the other speakers, who I has never met before, prophesied the same dream over me. I was blown away! I had also recently had my diary drastically emptied after breaking my ankle, so I had an awful lot of time on my hand. Sometimes our dreams seem too big when we look through our own lenses. We forget that:

‘God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!’ Ephesians 3:20

God has given each of us a dream and if we commit to God he will bring it to fruition. In order to explore God’s dreams for our lives we need to listen carefully to the voice of God. We need to respond to God with the cry – “Here I am – Send ME!”

We need to ensure that trust is at the centre of our journey. We must trust God and his unfailing love for us. We must trust in his word that we find in scripture and draw strength from it. We must also trust that God wants to use us because we are good enough. Above all we must trust in God’s grace.

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’

So today, in those areas of life in which you feel you have been exiled, commit to praying that both it and you will thrive. Trust in the dreams that God has given you and remember you are are good enough.

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