[NOTE: This week my meditations run daily, and will return to a Mondays-only format next week.]
I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. — Jeremiah 29:11-13
My news apps notify me when something bad happens in the world. This means I get daily notifications. That’s a bit depressing. The uncertainty around the coronavirus simply multiplies the anxiety along with the number of notifications.
Why be reminded of the chaos characterizing our world? Why be reminded that we are vulnerable to powers beyond our control?
Such notifications help us remember our obligation to fight back. No Christian can sit idly by in the face of injustice, human need, climate change, and disease. If the world is a Garden of Eden, Christ wouldn’t have died.
However, such daily reminders of chaos should also remind us that, ultimately, the salvation of the world doesn’t depend on us.
When the Jews were living in the pagan kingdom of Babylon, Jeremiah spoke God’s shocking message. Build a home there. Find meaningful work. Connect with the land. Make love and raise a family. Get involved in the community.
We can’t be so frantic in coping with chaos that we ignore what God provides today that sweetens life. Our smartphones may notify us of the latest news from Washington. But our friends, children, relatives, coworkers, clubs, dogs, birds, neighbors, birthdays…so MANY things notify us that there’s a goodness in life to be honored and enjoyed. Even if the only way we communicate with some is through technology, that only reminds us of how blessed we are to be in relationship with them.
Just as we sin when we ignore the world’s pain, so do we sin when we ignore God’s daily, simple gifts.
Jeremiah says that God “knows” the plans for our future. Somewhere, beyond the present chaos and beyond our abilities, will come a time of peace. Perhaps that peace will help produce a stronger human family.
If God knows the plans for our future, God also knows the plans for our present.
Build a home today in a chaotic world, and we might experience a little of what God has in store for us tomorrow.