What now? We sit and wait. Waiting for the results of an election that does not have the power to change anything unless I am willing to be a part of that change. As I sat and pondered what to write for today, a phrase kept running through my mind: pray for peace.

It’s not really a random phrase from nowhere, but an admonishment from God to the people of Israel during their time of exile in Babylon through the prophet Jeremiah. You see, I imagine the Israelites were very much like you and me. Divided along party lines, convinced their way of responding to captivity was the BEST way. God had a different way.

4This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7And 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 29:4-7

This passage is extremely familiar to many people, with verse 11 printed on posters, wall signs, book marks, T-shirts and every other sort of medium. We wave the flag that says, “God has a plan for you…” but forget that his plan starts right now, in captivity not later after everything is like I want it.

In many ways, we are all in captivity. Scripture says that this earth is not our home, we are citizens of heaven, we are aliens and strangers in a foreign land. But it’s become so home-like, so familiar. So much so that we fight about it.

I think we are going to be here awhile. While we are here, let’s take to heart Jeremiah’s words to the exiles. Pray for the peace of the city where you live. It’s welfare will determine your welfare.

Then let’s do everything we can to work for peace in our communities. Lay down the weapons (read: shut the mouth), take up instruments of peace (read: think the best of others), honor one another above yourselves (read: be kind) and live in peace with others. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they know. And then the rest of Jeremiah’s words will be your blessing as well:

11For 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.” 

Jeremiah 29:11

Are you part of the good in your community or part of the disaster? You get to choose. Choose wisely!

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