Have you ever thought something will never happen? You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? You have hope, but it is becoming wishful thinking?
We were in the system to adopt for a long time (years) before we adopted Nicholas. Seeing our friends having babies and adopting was hard. We were happy for them and sad for us, thinking we might never be parents. When we decided to adopt again, we had to wait again. Would it ever happen? Then we got Leah, almost overnight.
The people of Judah can relate. They were in exile in Babylon, hoping to return home soon. Some prophets told them to get ready because God was going to deliver them. But nothing was happening. Would they ever get to go home?
Jeremiah tells them a different story. They were going to be there for a while, so they needed to build homes, plant gardens, get married, have children, and plan to stay. What a blow. Jeremiah even encouraged them to pray for the shalom of the city where they were in exile. What a tough assignment.
Jeremiah then shares God’s plan for them. Shalom. What a great promise: peace, wholeness, welfare, completeness, and human flourishing right where they were in exile. But, how could they experience shalom in a foreign land? This is no prosperity gospel. God is listening to them and will be found, even away from their beloved Judah.
Hope is not just wishful thinking. Hope is something you can count on, even when things seem so foreign.
Our dreams of parenting came to pass. We have two children whom we love. We thank God for them. (Leah’s middle name is Mattea and means “gift of God”). Did Nicholas and Leah bring us shalom? No. God already provided shalom during our journey.