Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Life Verse: Context and Impact

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.  
Jeremiah 29:10-14a

I have most of Jeremiah 29:11 tattooed on my arm. It takes up a good chunk of space from my shoulder along my bicep ending just above my elbow. There are days I think it takes up a good chunk of valuable space and wish I hadn’t gotten it. Then there are days like today that it means the world to me. We can’t take that verse out of context like so many do. We need to remember why G-d said this. He was speaking to a people about to be put into captivity, to be made slaves to a foreign nation. Their kings were, frankly, doing a shitty job of it, and the people were being stubborn and hard-hearted. They weren’t listening to their King and His prophets but to the false prophets who were giving them the pleasant lies instead of the truth of G-d.

(Tattoo by Sara Purr)

When I was reading this section today, I was struck by it. I knew “my verse” was coming up soon but I didn’t really pay attention to where I was. Suddenly, I was reading words I know so intimately. “For I know the plans I have for you”. Oh hello there, G-d. I felt like I got smacked from half paying attention to “Victoria! These words are important! Pay attention! Wake up!” And I went back to the beginning of the section break (Jeremiah 29:10) and reread that section. I must have read it three or four times. And then the tears started to fall.

This past hour, I’ve been an emotional wreck. Without real reason. It suddenly hit me that I’m leaving in two months. That I only have two more months here. And some days that might seem like an eternity but today that feels like the blink of an eye. In only two months, I’ll be gone. (More on the bittersweet essence of this tomorrow.) I may never walk these streets again. I’ll certainly never be a part of this family in the way I am now again. I hope that I’ll stay in touch with them for years and years to come but I know how way leads on to way and people tend to part. I don’t want that and I’ll do my best to prevent it but I’ll never be as intimately connected to them as I am now. 

So when I read those words, something hit me. And as the tears rolled silently down, my six year old sat not ten feet away from me. I don’t like when people see me cry, let alone a child who isn’t going to understand why I’m crying. Heck, I’m not sure I understood why I was crying.

It just touched me so much that G-d told His people, “You will suffer this punishment for your sin. For 70 years you will be in Babylon, but I won’t forget you. I’ve drawn a line in the sand and when that day comes, I will come rescue you. I will bring you back to prosperity and to hope. I will bring you back to the future I made for you. And when that time has passed, call on me. I will answer you, child. I will be there. I will not turn a deaf ear to your pleas, to your cries. You can tell me anything you want, my daughter, my son. If you look for me, if you come after me, with all your heart, I will answer you. You will find me. And I will bring you back from this punishment.”

The last few days, my depression has been acting up. I’ve been very out of sorts. And I’ve considered going back on my anti-depressants, something I’d hoped never to do. But the thing is with my meds, I know I have about six weeks until they kick in and I feel better. Without them, I don’t know when this cloud will lift. I don’t know when I’ll feel like me again. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (known as SAD. Yes, seriously) so I know more sun, better weather, I’ll feel better. Unfortunately, I’ve had years that it took until June for me to feel better. Other years, I’m starting to come out of it already at this time of year. I don’t know why different years are different but I can’t predict what this year will bring. 

But I do know that G-d knows how long it will last. I really wish I could see where that line in the sand is for me. G-d told the people of Israel but He doesn't tell me. And it's always hardest to go through something you're not enjoying when you don't know when it ends. So I'm trying to trust in G-d. What really hit me today was verses 12 and 13. ("You will call on me...and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.") My word for the year is seek after all. As I've been reading my Bible faithfully and spending time with Him faithfully, I've noticed G-d working. He's given me chances to share my story and to share my passion for Him. He is good. He is faithful. He made these promises to the people of Israel approximately 2600 years ago but He is fulfilling them today still

My G-d is good.


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