“There are moments in all our lives when our romantic notions of being able to call our own shots are quickly dashed against the jagged rocks of real life. Thankfully, the ancient witness of Scripture knows what to do with the dynamism of real life. The biblical writers aren’t shocked about anything, even an unexpected and unsettling and heartbreaking move.”- Daniel Grothe
“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”- Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV)
In the Afterword (“When You Can’t Stay: How to Honor Stability When You Have to Live on the Move”) of The Power of Place, Daniel Grothe notes that it’s easy to romanticize living in one place for the rest of your life. But, in reality, life rarely works out that neatly.
Most significantly, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah of Anathoth spent much time teaching God’s people how to live on the move. In Chapter 29, Jeremiah addressed the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Certainly, Pastor Grothe observes, the Jewish exiles found Jeremiah’s counsel in v. 7 shocking. Eventually, though, they got around to living well in that foreign land.
And, Pastor Grothe suggests, many of us display exactly the same feelings when we find ourselves living in a temporary place. A place not likely our final stop. So, at that point, it’s easy to just mail it in, check out, and do just enough to get by.
However, those who live well while living on the move push through the passivity and refuse to retreat. In conclusion, Daniel exhorts:
“So if you’re living a life that will require regular mobility, learn how to live well while you’re passing through. Show up. . . . Do the hard work to plant gardens of relationship. Seek the peace and prosperity of the place you find yourself. And watch yourself thrive in a foreign land. For God is the God who can cause abundance to spring up even in a land that feels like exile.”
Today’s question: What Scriptures help when you find your hopes dashed against the jagged rocks of real life? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of The Power of Place