Bible reading: Jeremiah 32, 33, and 38
After the prophet Jeremiah consistently proclaimed the word of the Lord unto all Judah that the king of Babylon would come to take the city and the Chaldeans would set it on fire and burn it, the Lord commanded him to buy a field. He immediately obeyed the voice of the Lord and went and bought himself a field. But after accomplishing this, he prayed to God for understanding. Jeremiah saw the Chaldeans come to take the city; the siege mounded; the word of the Lord had come to pass, and yet, the Lord commanded him to buy a field! Even the prophet Jeremiah couldn’t understand and see God’s purpose!
But Jeremiah’s buying of the field is a sign of God’s future plan for Israel. That after He has punished the people for turning away from Him and serving other gods, He will again cause them to return from where He has driven them. This is His assurance. His covenant with David His servant will stand.
But as the siege around the city mounded, Jeremiah couldn’t see beyond it.
‘Look, the siege mounds! They have come to the city to take it; and the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword and famine and pestilence. What You have spoken has happened; there You see it! 25 And You have said to me, O Lord God, “Buy the field for money, and take witnesses”!—yet the city has been given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’” (Jer. 32:24-26)
If the prophet couldn’t see a bright future beyond the present chaos, how could have I seen through my suffering? As the onslaught of my illness raged, I could only see the present moment. As the battle with pain and suffering intensified, I could only think of the next heartbeat. But though I couldn’t envision a bright future full of God’s grace and goodness, I trusted Him with the next heartbeat, and the next. I knew and believed that He owned every breath and every heartbeat, and so I trusted. As Job had declared, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him” (Job 13:15), I did, too.
And that’s what the prophet did. Though he knew that the city would be taken, he went and bought the field as the Lord commanded him.
When the Lord had started to heal me, and I could see a ray of hope into the not-so-distant future, I began to rest in His promise. About 2 years before I would give birth to my son Tim, twice I dreamed of holding a baby boy in my arms. I was still recovering from my illness then. Recovery was long and slow. When brethren in Christ interpreted the dream as me having a son in the near future, I was glad and rejoiced in the Lord, but I didn’t spend too much time imagining the future (it made me more hungry and that was painful) and didn’t try to speed up the days and weeks and months. I concentrated on my recovery, so that when the day finally came that I found out I was pregnant, we were so elated.
After I had given birth, twice I became ill again. The last one was after I had agonizingly prayed to God to completely heal and strengthen me and use me for His purposes. Instead of sending me outright to fulfil His purpose, I became very ill that each day felt like it was the last. When a praying and fasting sister in Christ came to visit and told me about her dream: she saw me high up on a tower writing on my laptop and the Lord telling her that He had given me a very important task, again I couldn’t see beyond my pain and suffering (remembering all these makes me sob).
Her dream brought gladness to my faint heart. Nevertheless, I didn’t understand it. A year later, I found myself blogging for the glory of God.
What have I learned from these experiences and from the book of Jeremiah? To believe God’s promises and strive to see beyond the suffering. As the storm of trials rages and it’s hard to see beyond the pounding rain – only believe: “buy the field” (in my case, I bought fabric for my choir uniform even when I was still sick in bed), entrust to God the realization of hopes and dreams.
This is a pattern for faith: Just as He had planned the future of Israel even before the fulfilment of her punishment, so He also has a perfect plan for us behind the trial. For even though the present situation seems hopeless, like in Jeremiah’s time, God declares:
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”
“Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.” (Jer. 32:27; 33:6)
Endnote: (Old photo of me and Tim)
My gratitude list ~ the gifts I received from the hand of the gracious Lord:
- My friends in Dubai (upon my invitation) attending the worship service and 5th anniversary celebration of JMCIM-Dubai Outreach and being blessed by it.
- The pure wonder in Tim’s eyes when he discovered the baby rabbits have finally opened their eyes. He was so excited he took a video of them and uttering in awe, “Their eyes! They have opened their eyes!” Thank You, God, for Your amazing grace – You have opened our eyes!
- Looking at my beloved husband’s back as he left the room, body lean and erect – my heart surged with love and that old fire (wink).
- Watching bel. hubby and kids relish the macapuno pandan ice cream I made for Saturday afternoon snacks. It’s funny how they compete for the scooper – ah, kids and kids at heart!
- Watching the live webcast of JMCIM Sunday worship service together with our two new maids; sharing to them the testimonies of beloved brethren in Christ and telling them about the true Gospel of salvation. (This is just the start).
I’m linking up with other blogs, please check the list at the side bar.