Today’s piece is Scripture art using Jeremiah 29:11 as the featured verse.
This piece was a gift from the First United Methodist Church of Hempstead. I served Hempstead and Lynn Grove UMCs from 2002 to 2007. This was a bitter-sweet time for our family: James and Bill both graduated from Hempstead High School and made a number of life-long friends in the process. But, Lisa suffered some of her worst times coping with multiple sclerosis ... and also dealt with the addictive qualities of her pain medications. The Hempstead congregation gave us this piece as a parting gift, and it has served as a message of hope for our family for the past 13 years.
In this passage from Jeremiah chapter 29, the Lord has a message for the people of Israel. They have already resisted King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and he has conquered Jerusalem and taken their king and leading citizens into captivity in Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar has made Zedekiah the King of Israel and expects his loyalty and obedience. Now, God is sending a message to the people in captivity in Babylon through the prophet Jeremiah.
God’s message to the exiles in Babylon is to “settle down and make good lives for yourselves and your families where you are. Your exile is going to last for 70 years – so make the best of it! I, the Lord, am still with you and I will be with you when you return from exile.”
This is a good message for us to hear today: God is with us and will be with us when these days are over! Make the best you can of these times through Bible study and prayer. This is an opportunity. God has plans for you “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Shalom, Brother Mike