I am currently studying through the book of Jeremiah in my personal time with the Lord each day. Last night I read the first part of chapter 29. As I was reading through the verses, a few truths jumped out at me about trials. Before I share those with you, lets look at the context and see what is going on this the first part of chapter 29.
In 597 B.C. many of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) were carried away in exile to Babylon and this starts their 70 years of captivity there. This was part of God’s judgment on them for sin and disobedience. Sometime after this, Jeremiah wrote a letter to them to instruct them on what they should do during this time; chapter 29:1-23 is that letter. As I read this letter, I saw some important truths that we need to remember when we go through a trial. The people who were carried away to Babylon were in nothing short of a hardcore trial. You may not be carried away in exile to a foreign land, but you will go through trials. The things Jeremiah said to them can be applied to us and the trials we are going through. Let’s look at three truths Jeremiah shares about trials:
1. God send His people into trials. In verse 4, God says, “…to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile.” Did you get that? God sent His people into exile! The trial you are going through does not surprise God, He sent you into it! He planned that trial just for you. So when you are going through a trial, remember that God sent you into it for a reason. James 1:2, James tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials…” Why should we rejoice and count it all joy when we enter into trials? Read the next few verses in James and you will see that we should rejoice in trials because it makes us better Christians. We get stronger in our faith. The first thing Jeremiah tells us about trials is that God sends us into them.
2. Don’t try to fight your way out of a trial, stay in it until God brings you out of it. After God tells the exiles you sent them into the exile, he speaks through Jeremiah to tell them to settle in at Babylon because they will be there for a while. We know now that they will be there for 70 years! In verses 5-7, they are told to build houses, plant gardens, get married, seek the welfare of the city, and even pray for the city! God was telling them to stay put in this trial. The first thing many of us do when we enter into a trial is try to get out of it as fast as we can. We do everything within our power to try to fix it so we can get out of it. If we do that, we will not grow as Christians and that is the main point of God putting us through trials. It’s in the valley you really learn about trusting God and following Him. If you try to get out of the valley, your trial, and just reach the mountaintop than you may miss all God wants you to learn in the valley. The second things Jeremiah tells us about trials is we must stay in them until God is done doing what He wants to do.
3. Your trial will end and God has a future for you. In verse 10, God tells the exiles when the 70 years is complete, when their trial is over, He will visit them. The next verse could well be the most quotes verse in Jeremiah. Verse 11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” One of the things we start to tell ourselves during a trial is that it will never end and that God cannot have a plan for us that involves this mess. See, your trial is all part of the plan God has for you! He tells us in this verse that we have a future and a hope! It may be hard to believe or see this in a trail, but we must remember God has a plan!
I recently heard a song by the band Newsong called “The Same God.” In this song, there is a line that says, “The same God that led you in will lead you out.” Don’t forget the same God that leads us into trials is the same God that will lead us out. I’m in a trial right now and I know many other are as well. Don’t lose hope, trust God, He has a plan!