Imagine that you are about to receive the most encouraging words you were ever going to hear from the person whose encouragement meant the most to you. You were told that you were going to have a great future and that there was a plan for your life to prosper. How would that feel? Wouldn’t that fire you up? It would for me.
Then as you were on your way to this great new life, you drove into a traffic jam where you would be stuck for say… 70 years? Now how would you feel? Wouldn’t you feel like you had been duped?
If I had to sum it up, for me, I would feel…. Frustrated and Stuck.
Yes, that’s the word, I would use, stuck…. We have all been there. Whether you drove your car into mud that was too deep or into traffic during the rush hour. We all know what it is like to be stuck. We quickly realize our mistake and try and find ways to unstick ourselves. Many times, this just makes it worse and all we can do is try and focus on getting out of the situation we got ourselves into.
That is exactly what happened to Israel back in the time of Jeremiah
Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most familiar verses in the bible.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
But the nation of Israel had turned its back on God and was about to be put into 70 years of Captivity. They were going to be slaves for 70 years.
I imagine the Israelites had the same feeling. Like someone who put their foot in their mouth, they would have wanted to quickly apologize, end this slavery thing and get onto that “future and hope thing.”
But God had already Spoken. So great here we are stuck, we apologized but we are still stuck, stuck, stuck stuck. Did I mention that we are stuck?
Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever felt like you are not where you want to be? Ever been stuck in a rut, in a routine, on a path going nowhere special? Maybe you have been in a job that felt more like Groundhog’s Day than a career. No matter what you do, it seems like you are not making progress. Ever been there? Yeah, me too.
If you are there or looking to get unstuck, here is advice that will change your life… forever.
As I read the entire context of this passage, I couldn’t stop crying as I realized how much I had been striving to change my situation when it was really my heart and attitude where the change was required.
This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare….”
This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
See what God is saying. In the area where we feel most stuck, we are to multiple, pray and work for peace. How can that Be. Where my world changed is where it says that God will end the captivity and restore your fortunes.
He is saying you can thrive in your rut because He is in there with us. He never leaves us and since He is with us… We aren’t really stuck.
Here are three things that will help you make the most of every season but especially those seasons where you feel more like a lake that is dammed up than a raging river.
- Say “Thanks” – When I feel stuck, it is amazing how big the walls around me can feel and I can’t seem to see ANYTHING to be thankful for. When we thank God, the walls come down and we see the beauty of every situation. Even if you have to start with the fact you are up and breathing … Start declaring it.
- Realize God never left you. That’s right, He knows right where you are. He never lost you. And you didn’t run away when He wasn’t looking. He’s right next to you waiting for you to ask for His help. So Ask. Remember, he loves you more than you can imagine.
- Control what you can. You may not be able to change your circumstance tight now, but you can control your actions and your attitude. This might be exactly the foundational work and change that needs to happen so you can be ready for what’s next.
Some times being offended or being hurt can put us in a rut. It is only God who can patch us up and get us back out there again. But YOU have to decide to forgive. What are you going to do?
Make no bones about it…You were built to thrive. Whether you are going through the toughest time of your life or you every day seems like a parade. God built you to be Victorious.