Tuesday, August 10, 2010

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - Climb Every Mountain

Last Friday would be marked as one of the most "unknown" day's of my life. Most of you know we are in the process of moving. This move has not been particularly smooth. It has been the longest local move. It has taken 2 weeks to move 13 miles. As I said to someone the other day, the mountain seems to be getting higher and higher and now I'm at the place where the air is thin. I actually found myself taking deep breaths. I'm not a mountain climber and I know why. I don't like heights and I don't like the unknown. Jeff is more adventurous. He chose to climb Masada when we were in Israel rather than take the tram.
(See photo: Jeff is in the red shirt. It was 112 degrees that morning)

Without going into too many details, let's just say that last week we became scattered, literally. We had been taking boxes over to the rental house. Last Friday was supposed to be the day I would clean and begin unpacking. We had packed up a trailer with furniture that was headed to the new home. After a few short hours, some news came that caught us off guard and seemed to paralyze us. It all happened before the trailer load arrived so when it got there, we stopped everything we were doing and asked our friend if it would be possible for him to take the trailer home for the rest of the weekend. My heart dropped to my feet and my emotions were frazzled at that moment. Jeff told me to go home. As I walked into my home, an emptiness filled my heart. I was standing in an empty living room in the home that God surprised us with 3 years ago. Some furniture was missing from other rooms, but boxes still lined my hallways. My life seemed to be at a stand still. Nothing for my family seemed stable. Like climbing a mountain with loose rocks. My son tried to console me by saying "Mom, remember all the stories have a struggle, but remember the endings are always good." I turned to him and said, "I know look at Cinderella, Snow White, and Pinocchio." He said, "No mom, the stories in the Bible!" Needless to say, it was a sleepless night. The mountain seemed to get taller.

Saturday morning as I opened my chronological Bible for some hope, it was no coincidence that I was at Jeremiah 29. When I looked at my reading plan that Jeff had put together for the church at the beginning of the year, the reading plan for Saturday was Jeremiah 29! God wanted me to read this!

Jeremiah 29 holds a promise that many of us hang on to. It is verse 11 that says, "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." Those words are like oxygen to my spirit. I read this passage over and over. The first 10 verses prior to 11 say so much more as to why 11 is so important. You see, this was a promise to the exiles from Jerusalem who were in Babylon. God wanted Jeremiah to let them know things were going to be good for them. That although they had no idea what their future held, the Word of the Lord was a promise that their future was going to be hopeful.

The Word the Lord spoke through Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon, spoke to me as well. This process in finding a home in south Orange County has not been easy. It has been more like climbing a mountain. After five months, I'm exhausted and worn out. But it was what the Lord said beginning in verse 5 that settled my spirit as to where He was leading us. It says
"'Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jeremiah 29:5-7) The past 11 years have seemed very temporary. He's now showing us where He wants to plant us.

Sunday Pastor Jeff explained what Babylon represents. It represents the world's system and way of thinking. As I have thought about this over the last few days, I realized that in a spiritual sense, we as children of God are like the captives in Babylon in the world today. Ephesians 2:19 says, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household." Like Jeremiah, we have been set apart. Jesus said, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:19) Like God's people who were in captivity to the Babylonians, God told them to go ahead and "live" their lives. We as children of God need to do the same. So many times we separate ourselves from the world. Instead we need to be out there living and climbing every mountain because God is leading us. I know I find myself in isolation, especially when I'm "climbing a mountain." I put my life on hold because it's all I can do to focus and breathe. But it is better to climb the mountains of life with others. We need to climb with Believers so they may encourage, and with unbelievers so they might discover God in the journey.

No matter how much adversity we face today, tomorrow's hope is that it rests in the hands of God. His promise is that if we pray to Him, He will hear us. If we look for Him with all of our heart, we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:12-14) Whatever challenges you might be facing or mountains you might be climbing, know that God knows the plan. God does have a sense of humor because the city He chose for us has a very mountainous terrain. I like the way the Message Bible translates Jeremiah 29:11 and I will close with this, "I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. " Don't be afraid to climb the mountains, they are only as high as His feet.