Thursday, February 12, 2015

Come Along on the Journey!

I received an e-mail a couple of days ago.  I knew the answer to the questions (I was being asked) would be found in old blog posts.  As I scrolled along, I realized I have been blogging for over 8 years now!  My first post was in August, 2006.  A lot has changed in that time.  My sons have grown into young men.  We have been settled in our community over 9 years now.  Life has had its ups and downs, but here we are!

One of the new(er) things I've done over the past few years is join a women's Bible study group in our parish.  I had wanted to participate long before I had the availability.  Once able to become part of the group, though, I have never looked back.  The group is filled with women of all ages, from early 20's, to much older.  :o)  We have single women, married women, moms of little ones, moms of teens, moms of adults, grandparents...well, we pretty much have it covered!  The beautiful reality of it, though, is that we are all on a journey of faith together.  We all want to grow in our relationship with the Lord.  We encourage one another, laugh together, and cry together.  These women are such a blessing to my life.

This week, we began a study called "Oremus."  It is an 8-week study on prayer--a challenge to take that quiet time with Christ every day.  (Our group will stretch it out longer, as we only meet every 2 weeks or so.)  One of the types of prayer we are learning is known as, "Lectio Divina."  Basically, that means praying Scripture.  We have a daily guide that supplies a Scripture passage.  We are encouraged to read it, read it again slowly, then read it again very slowly.  We are to take time, slow down, and listen to what God is speaking to us through that particular portion from the Bible.

Whew.  Okay.  All that to say, I'd like to have you join me in this journey, too!  I'll share my thoughts, and encourage you to do the same.

Today's passage was the oft-quoted passage from Jeremiah 29:11-14:

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart,  I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."

Jeremiah was a prophet through some of the most horrific times of Israel's history.  When this chapter was written, the people were in exile in Babylon.  They had been ripped away from their homes and taken there by Nebuchadnezzar and his army.  And yet, Jeremiah offered them God's words of hope and promise.

A couple of things stood out to me:  God's part and our part.

On God's part:

- He knows the plan.
- He hears.
- He wants to be found by us.
- He will restore us.
- He will bring us back.

For God's part, yes, He had "driven them" into other nations and places.  He "sent" them into exile.  Remember, though, that this occurred after many, many years of the prophets warning them to turn from their idolatrous ways.  It wasn't some whim of a mean Man in the sky.  He wanted them to live the very best life--following His ways and reaping the benefits of that life--but they were determined to live their own way.  Thus, the exile.

But in His great love, the promises were offered.  "I will restore you.  I will return you."

On our part:

- We need to call upon Him. (Come and pray.)
- We need to seek Him.
- We will find Him.

In light of His part, our part doesn't seem so difficult, does it?  If you're like me, though, you know we humans try to make it as difficult as possible.  I am stubborn and, like the Israelites, I am determined that my way must be the right way.  The truth of the matter is that if I call upon Him, come to Him, and seek Him, I will find Him.  He will show me His ways.  That path is so much better than the one I would take on my own!

Rest in these great words of promise today.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well!

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