Seeing the Plan Play Out

Jeremiah 29:10-14

For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon’s seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.


Just before these verses, the political leaders, craftsmen and other fine minds of Jerusalem, living in captivity in their conqueror’s homeland, received bad news from the prophet Jeremiah. They were not going home from Babylon any time soon—they might as well build houses and gardens and settle down.

God’s chastisement of his chosen people, caught up in sin, would ultimately lead to restoration and the continuation of his plan to bring salvation to the world through them. We are reminded, however, that God’s plan plays out over generations, centuries, and even millennia. God plays a long game, one so long that even the devil cannot keep track of it all.

I am struck by how blessed most of us reading this are, living as we have lived. Alignment with God does not automatically mean having a comfortable life. Throughout history, it’s been common for people to have the opposite, forced to live according to the whims of powerful, ungodly people.

We particularly are blessed to live in the time after Christ, making a fully restored relationship with God individually possible through simple faith. On top of that, most of us are blessed to live in places where we have the freedom to worship as we want and live as we want.

Yes, this is another one of those “count your blessings” devotionals. As you make your way through the day, appreciate what you have, and remember how we are called to seek God with all our hearts, using our freedoms to play a part in God’s great plan to redeem all of creation.

Lord, help us through faithfulness and devotion to you to preserve the great gifts we have in this life. May exile never be our state, and may those who find themselves in it also find rescue by your hand. Amen.

Candy Kingdom

By Chuck Griffin
LifeTalk Editor

lot of people hate the advertising on their web browsers, but I’ve been unusually happy with mine the last few days. Earlier in the week, a relative was trying to remember what a circus peanut looks like, so I searched for a picture of one on my phone.

The software that pokes around in my browser took note that I had an interest in candy. Now I’m getting ads for candy of all kinds. My web pages regularly come decorated with bright jelly beans, gumdrops, gummy bears, nonpareils, and of course, circus peanuts in pink, yellow, white and classic orange.

I’m so happy with this result, I make sure I click on the ads from time to time, just so they will continue popping up. Thanks, Criteo!

Last night, I was showing my wife an unusually pretty offering of brightly colored “fruit slice” jelly candies for sale. It reminded me of the sleeve of fruit slices my mother would buy me at the candy counter in Sears before we went to a movie.

“Remember how candy was a very serious, very important subject when we were kids?” I asked my wife. “As I get older, I realize just how right we were.”

I know: Waistline, risk of diabetes, tooth decay, etc. But those concerns aside, there is simple joy—bright primary colors, explosive flavors, the heady rush of sugar. They all draw you very much into the present moment.

And being a pastor, I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Mark 10:14-15: “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

The Kingdom of God is, after all, the sweetest truth. This broken world can really hurt us, but there’s a new way dawning, an eternal life free from the havoc wrought by sin, and we can taste that new life now. When we sense the Kingdom of God breaking into this world—perhaps in a song, a story, or a relationship—that moment can be a real rush, and we naturally want more.

Christianity is exhilarating stuff, and like a child, we should take what we’re being offered very seriously.

Lord, thank you for those moments when your plan becomes so evident, all we can do is smile. Amen.