Every morning at work we have a morning huddle. Since I work from I home I call in via video. We take turns sharing what we are working on that day and any issues with which we may need help. The other day I shared my goals for that day, hung up, and 3 minutes into my work day my plans were derailed.
I am sure we can all relate. We have a goal or a to-do list for our day and then something comes up. Next thing we know we are at the end of the day and our goal is unaccomplished. Our to-do list unchecked. It can be so frustrating and even discouraging at times.
We all find ourselves in these moments. We have a plan, and something comes up. Maybe like me, it’s just our plans for that day that are derailed or maybe it’s more. A diagnosis. A job. A goal. A dream. Finances. Where we are living.
We have something in mind for where we would like to be, and this is not it. The ancient Israelites found themselves in a similar circumstance too. They were God’s chosen nation. Living in the promise land no less. Can it get any more perfect than that – the promise land!? No doubt they had very specific ideas of what their lives should look like.
Yet, they found themselves captives. Conquered by the Babylonians and forced to live as a vassal state. Their king merely a puppet of the king of Babylon.
Under the counsel of false prophets (aka not God talking to Israel), the king decided to enlist the help of a former enemy, the Egyptians, to help free them from the Babylonians. But before he did, God sent the prophet Jeremiah to warn him:
If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you (emphasis mine) , and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you. Do not fear the king of Babylon, of whom you are afraid. Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand. I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land.Jer.42:10-12 ESV
Essentially, God is telling the king – Bloom where you are planted. Don’t rebel. Even though their situation wasn’t what they wanted, they were exactly where God wanted them. Their situation was a punishment for their rebellion and unfaithfulness to God, but God would show them mercy and deliver them if they submitted to the King of Babylon for the present. They had nothing to fear.
There are some seasons where – Blooming Where You are Planted – comes naturally. We aren’t just blooming, we are thriving. But then there are seasons when blooming feels difficult or even impossible.
The king of Israel no doubt related to the latter, feeling blooming where he was planted was impossible. So he did not listen (2 Kings 24:20b-21). He enlisted the help of the Egyptians. The results were disastrous. Tragically, the king was not the only one to suffer because of his rebellion. Babylon invaded. Jerusalem was laid to waste and burned. Many died and the king was carried off in chains to Babylon.
Now this is an extreme example with Israel, and hopefully none of us are facing something this devastating, but it is so tempting to be discontent with where we are presently planted. To desire to fast forward to the next season. To jump ahead. Thinking if we could just skip this or arrive at our goal, things would be ideal.
The problem with this mentality is that we miss the purpose in our here and now. We get so caught up in forward gazing, we fail to appreciate our present circumstances or season, fully embracing them and living out our present purpose. It’s so easy to do, but when we do this, we sell ourselves and others short. And most importantly, we fail to surrender to God and experience what he has for us in our present.
There it is again. My one word – Surrender. Yep. That longing to skip ahead is just another form of us digging in our heals and demanding that we know best and wanting our way. Yet our way isn’t always the best way.
Our way may be good, but God’s ways are always better.
Because God sees a much bigger picture than we do. He has not only our overall good in mind, but the overall good of everyone in mind. Our spouse. Our kids. Our friends. Our relatives. Our coworkers. Everyone. God knows what each of us need to get us to where we need to be.
Sometimes we are planted in certain seasons for our good and sometimes we are planted in certain seasons for the good of others. To bless them. Encourage them. Challenge them. Or even just be an example of what it looks like to walk through a season trusting God even when it’s not ideal or what we hoped.
Trusting God is not easy. Faith is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes exercising our faith simply means surrendering to God in our present season. Choosing to make the most of where we are planted. To grow as much as we can and bless as many as we can exactly where we are today. With our limited resources and within the confines of our current restrictions.
So how about it? Can we choose to surrender in our current season? Can we choose to surrender in our current circumstances? Can we trust that God has our best in mind? Let’s faithfully serve God and –
Bloom Where You are Planted!