Encouragement from Exile
by Jen Weaver
God Plans to Prosper Your Marriage
My marriage survived a harsh relationship winter in the months after our first child was born. My husband, Jared, and I couldn’t stay on the same page. We’d reach consensus, then lose our spot before we had the chance to bookmark it. The lack of sleep didn’t help.
Before and during this season, God offered me promises from Scripture, like unwanted presents. As I learned how it hurt to sit in a room with the man I loved and feel completely alone, the Lord would drop verses in my heart:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11)
What do you mean plans for welfare? At first this made me angry. Don’t you see what I’m going through? I may have a future, but what are you doing today?
And then, I understood. This original message came by hand-delivered letter, sent to the Israelite people taken into exile. Once residents of a holy city, now dumped in a hostile one. A place not their own. A home without rest. It wasn’t a message of cheer read at a lavish party celebrating the Lord’s clear abundance. These words were a rope to hold onto as they waited for the Lord to fulfill His promises. Jesus offered this same tether to me, so that no matter how strong the storms grew, I wouldn’t lose sight of Him.
Many of us celebrate Jeremiah 29:11 but skip verses five through seven—direction on what to do in the waiting. I love that even in exile, God called His people to action. Build houses. Put roots down in your garden and your family.
Seek the welfare of the city … and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jer. 29:7)
God met Jared and me in our relationship winter and walked us through it. I know He longs to do the same for you. Whether you find yourself in exile, or just lacking abundance, I encourage you to take a note from the Jeremiah twenty-nine playbook. When marriage gets hard, society advocates we cut-and-run. But God offers a hope and future for your union, and He plans to use this season to draw you closer to Himself. In the middle of struggle and heartache, the Lord will care for you, and He’s calling you to action.
1. Look for ways to build up your marriage, not escape it.
2. Root yourself in the truth of God’s Word and in your commitment to His instruction.
3. Pray for the welfare of your spouse and your relationship. God wants to use your marriage for your good, and He will see you through this.
Please Note: Believing God for Jeremiah 29:11 doesn’t give license for abuse or mistreatment. If you’re in a dangerous situation, please seek help.
Jen Weaver is the author of A Wife’s Secret to Happiness and is passionate about sharing strength with others as a Bible teacher, speaker and blogger at thejenweaver.com.
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