Babylon Comments by Francesca Penty
Joel used two versions of Jeremiah 29:11 on Saturday night. The NIV talked about God having plans for us whilst the NKJ talked of His thoughts towards us.
I have to admit to feeling more secure with the first option, which seems the easier of the two as God has it all sorted, and I’m happy to let Him call the shots. The second however is nearer to the original text and is much more relational and calls on me to believe what God thinks of me and let that lead my mind and thus my choices. If God is our father then He must love and care for us individually. No parent treats their children the same. I couldn’t love any of my children less than another but treat each differently because of their personalities and experiences in life. Joel told us to go and work out what God our father thought of us.
Joel also quoted this passage by Eugene Peterson “You are not camping. This is your home. Make yourself at home in Babylon. This may not be your favourite place, but it's a place. Dig foundations, construct a habitation. Quit sitting around feeling sorry for yourselves. The aim of a person of faith is not to be as comfortable as possible, but to live as deeply and thoroughly as possible, to deal with the reality of life, discover truth, create beauty, act out love."
It ties in really well with Jeremiah 29:4-6. In a rotten situation it’s almost as though we can hold our breath waiting for it to pass so we can resume our lives. This passage tells us hope for a better day but meanwhile to keep on living, drawing God closer and growing.