“He is pruning away the things we worship more than Him.”

Julie Manning from My Heart

“Set up signposts to mark your trip home. Get a good map. Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back.

Come back, dear virgin Israel, come back to your hometowns.

How long will you flit here and there, indecisive? How long before you make up your fickle mind? God will create a new thing in this land:

A transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!”

Jeremiah 31:21-22 The Message 

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Wrapped in grey clouds, soft rain splatters, tapping her rhythm against the windows. There are days when I find comfort in the rain, the quiet, the clock ticking softly behind me. And there are days when I feel confined. Smothered. The pain presses in, I squeeze tight tears longing to escape. I peer through the window, stare at space that seems to go on and on.

I tug open my Bible, run my thumb down the pages, find the words I search for.

Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our harps, hanging them on the branches of poplar trees. For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”

But how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a pagan land? Psalms 137: 1-4 (NLT) 

The Israelites had been taken captive, exiled to the land of Babylon. Their captors demanded them to play their songs of praise. They could not.

Broken, exiled, they had put their instruments away. I am beckoned in to weep with them. I can imagine their instruments hanging from the trees, silent. I imagine if the wind were to stir, notes might have escaped. God whispering from the tree tops, reminding the Israelites, reminding me, reminding you, Dear Reader; His presence stirs loudest in the quiet. 

Pages over, I read these words:

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem. Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce…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. Jeremiah 29: 4,6b,&7 (NLT)

 We may be exiled to the wilderness. The view may seem endless. The endless smothering, snuffing out peace and joy. We can hang our instruments in the trees as the Israelites, or we can move forward.

Farther over we see the Israelites were asked to do that very thing.

So am I. And so are you. We move one foot forward and the other. Sometimes we are called to stay in this place and so we build our homes and plant our gardens. We do not allow ourselves to dwindle away.

We listen for the whispers of His Presence in the treetops, strumming our hearts to praise. Praise Him in the hard. Praise Him in the wilderness.

It’s not easy is it? I’ve been here three plus years. I get it. I know it.

I have come to see it as the only way to live fully in the wilderness. I pray the same for you.

There’s a promise when you do.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29: 11-14 (NLT)

Whatever holds you captive, exiled in the wilderness, whether it’s addiction, illness, a broken marriage, wayward child, single parenting, financial difficulties, depression, or seemingly endless days in your hard thing, I pray you find Him.

He is whispering and beckoning you. Creating, and transforming. Will you embrace a transforming God today?

I long to hear your story. You can do that by commenting below or directly contacting me here.

***

 A few things I am loving right now:

This white tee shirt. If you know me at all, you know that I am forever searching for the perfect white tee. I have finally found it!

This Lent Devotional written by my sweet friend, Susan Shipe at hopehearthome.com You can pick your copy up here:

This podcast: https://christynockels.com/podcast/

Gifts of Grace