I have been deeply troubled, like many Americans, since oh around last November 8th. Troubled by where I see the country going; troubled by the excuses that Christians have made for certain behaviors that twenty years ago would have been impeachment-worthy; troubled by what might happen in the world as people fight with people and nation fights with nation. Troubled by the attitude of America First and the rest of the world can go burn in hell. I have prayed more deeply in the last year and taken more political action than I ever have before.
But in the midst of that general sense of malaise and deep concern: Eddie got a new job, we sold our house, we moved cross-country, we found an apartment, we furnished that apartment, I began expanding my graphic design presence, I made friends, I started getting involved in a church.
And I have frequently wondered, what’s the point? Why not just hunker down and build myself a fallout shelter? Why go on with an ordinary life that might be disrupted by wars and rumors of wars? If everything’s just waiting to go wrong, then how can I feel excitement for the future? What’s the point of moving to a new city, starting a new job, saving for retirement?
Here’s why: because when Israel had been torn out of their homeland, carried into exile, lost everything they’d worked for, and were living in a new place with just as much uncertainty about their futures, this is what God told them to do:
“Build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters, take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 19:5-7
Loosely summarized, live your life. Do good work in your job. Pray for your neighbors. Don’t be so resentful of the past (exile), or so anxious for the future (returning from exile) that you neglect to do good in the place where God has you. As Elizabeth Elliot said, “Let not your longing slay the appetite for your living.”
This is where we are. In a world of turmoil and uncertainty; where picking up the phone might alter the course of your life. Where you feel hopeless and out of control. Plant vineyards anyway, whether you will drink their wine or not. Obey God anyway. Live in the hope of eternity, but live today. This is the day of salvation.