by Teresa Dulyea-Parker
11For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,14I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Jesus understood the deep connection, the underlying unity of all that is. The wholeness of God’s purpose evolving and being revealed on a daily basis.
It was this focus that carried Jesus through the hostility, mean-spirited testing, attempts to dis-credit his calling, distractions from his mission and purpose. He knew the reconciling love of God for the sake of the world. Jesus knew it was worth everything.
As scripture says, when you get tired, go over the story again. When you lack faith, focus on Jesus. When you are fearful, look to the One who said, “if you had but a mustard seed of faith” you would know that this momentary upset is nothing “compared to the glory about to be revealed to us.” Focused on God’s unfailing goodness and partnership, we can do anything. We can even overcome what has happened to us and find a new vision – putting Mission First.
Jesus knew. Nothing can break this unbreakable connection. It’s a given. A grace. He knew. So, do we.
Our Guatemala partners say to us when we visit them. “If you came here because you want to save us, you can go home right now. However, if you came here because you know that your salvation is tied up with ours, you are welcome.” We are connected in God’s great reconciling mission/work in this world. What happens to me, happens to you; What happens to you, happens to me.
- Take a look around you this week. Notice who is walking with you, driving alongside you, serving you lunch, caring for you at the checkout. Take the time to see them. In your mind’s eye say to yourself, “I see you.” Hold them in prayer.
We are most in danger, when we fail to see each other; refuse to honor the dignity of each other; disparage the value of each other; dis-engage from the stories of each other; are indifferent to what each other is living through. The plain Vision we need for our day is simple – we are our brother’s and sister’s keepers.
Jeremiah the prophet spoke to a people who were badly broken and eventually scattered to the wind by overwhelming powers. A people who had forgotten their Mission First; connection to each other and thus, to God. The results were predictable.
And, yet, even in the midst of a nightmare. Even after the worst had happened, Jeremiah could speak dare to speak a hopeful word from God, For surely I know the plans I have for you .
You will rise again.
Prayer: O God, You alone are our salvation. Help us to be open to Your word, soften our hearts and heads to listen for Your wisdom. For it is Your way that brings blessing. Amen.