Snow may be beautiful on limbs and trees, but you wouldn’t bring it inside and lay it on your
indoor plants. Yet I accidentally left all my indoor plants outside last night. I had taken them out to enjoy the warm 65 degree weather on Tuesday, left them out on Wednesday to soak up the rain, let them enjoy the sun on Thursday, but forgot to bring them in before the cold-snap last night. I love these plants, some are from my home in Alabama, which I lost. Some were from my first home in Westminster, which I lost, too. Now I think I’ve killed the only living things left from those by-gone days of simplicity and innocence. They’re ruined.
Yet those of us who are in Christ can never be truly ruined. My life, from the outside looking in, probably looks like it got pretty messed up over the last 10 years. We uprooted, relocated, the housing market crashed, we were victims of Mortgage fraud, foreclosure and eventually bankruptcy. Then we lost our dreams in our new place as well. My husband was laid off, we had to relocate again, and lost the second house. In the process, our dreams were dashed, broken and shattered. A ruined life, yep, that’s what it looked like.
But God had different plans, He’s a Redeemer. He has promised me that He’ll give me back the years that seem to have been lost (ruined). He has promised me a future and a hope. So many people use just this one verse to comfort themselves,
“I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
But it’s the context of the verse that makes it so encouraging. It’s the story within the story, from which this verse sprung up, like a seed of hope, that is what is encouraging. The people had been exiled to the land of Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. Read the whole chapter of Jeremiah 29, get the context, the big picture. Verse 4-7 says this, “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all THE CAPTIVES He (God) has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant Gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you will have many grandchildren. Multiply, do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
That is the context into which the encouraging verse 11 was given. The people of God had disobeyed so many times, worshiped false gods, sacrificed to them, forsaken the Only True God. In love, and yes, His discipline is love, God had allowed an enemy to come in and ravage the land and carry them off as captives, slaves. But it is into this context, this story that God introduces hope, with promises of a good today, and a better future. I take comfort in that. My life is not ruined, But My God has taken all that is broken, all that was lost, all the dreams that came crashing down around my head, as if hit by a Tornado; He is taking all this, and building a better dream, a better future, His dream, His future. I have been born again to a Living Hope, Jesus Christ is Hope personified. I can’t go back and change all that has gone before, but I can take it all, gather up all the pieces of my broken life, and place them in the Hands of My Redeemer. And I have done this, and so can you. No life is ever ruined, when placed in the hands of the Christ, The Messiah, The Redeemer. Though our sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. There is Hope for my future and for your future, for Christ Himself is Hope Itself.