December 4th Advent Devotional

Striving in Exile

Chad Poland

Jeremiah 29:4-11

 Advent is a season of expectation. We who dwell in darkness wait for the light of God to come into the world and make all things new. One might also use the language of exile. We who dwell in spiritual exile wait for our deliverance and restoration. Yet our waiting is nothing passive. We ought not fall into a state of resignation.

In the scripture lesson for today, God speaks through the prophet Jeremiah to those in Babylonian captivity. Though their deliverance will be delayed some 70 years, God instructs them to thrive and multiply. In the case of the Babylonian exiles, there is some practicality at work here but I can’t help think that striving in the midst of difficulty is also an act of defiance, a testimony to the hope one has in God.

We all go through challenging times, experiences that might lead us to give up and give in. Yet we know that God plans for us are include our welfare. God’s plans for us include a future full of hope. Confident of this we struggle through those difficulties and seek out people and resources to help us do so. We pray, we study. We press on; confident that God remains trustworthy and his word true.

We won’t always thrive, but we can at least strive. God promises to come and to change everything. In striving we run out to meet our redeemer. Making the most of every day, even those days when we feel as if we are in exile, is an act of defiance that testifies to our hope in God.

God our deliverer, with expectant hearts we wait for you to transform us, our lives, and our world.  By the Holy Spirit, which is with us even now, grant us the courage and strength to strive toward our every hope, confident that you will one day bring our journey to completion.

 Rev. Chad L. Poland serves as Pastor and Teacher at All Souls Congregational Church, United Church of Christ located in Bangor, Maine.

©2018 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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