Settling Down in God’s Time and Season

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

Wow! It has been over a month since I have been able to sit down to compose a post and this hiatus is because I have been going though a season in my life. This season has been one that has brought with it many life lessons, particularly, learning to trust in God when things are not going the way I plan. Yesterday, I picked up my bible to read after a few weeks of not doing so and my readings led me to this nugget of inspiration from Jeremiah 29.

For context: The Israelites were in captivity and they were hoping for God’s deliverance. In fact, many false prophets had assured them that God’s deliverance was around the corner and that their exile would last for only a maximum of two years. Because of this false hope, the Israelites lived in this state of flux, of uncertainty; and in many ways, they were stuck and could not move forward. But God sent his prophet with this message:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 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. 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 NIV

God was telling them to get comfortable in the season He was taking them through. This sounds antithetical to everything I have come to believe when going through things in my life that I deem unpleasant. In fact, many Christian teachings and admonishing would urge me to pray and fast myself out of that situation. However, as I read through this scripture, I felt God’s encouragement to get comfortable in the seasons of my life. More often than not, I am in a hurry to move on to the next phase, to the next chapter of my life that I do not stop to take in the lessons and the blessings of each season of my life. Just like the Israelites, I sometimes refuse to accept the “realities” of what my situations are and rather look to future state as God’s promise for me. While this is not bad, there are many things that I miss out on in God’s season of my life: I miss out on planting and harvesting and on building during those seasons because I am waiting for better things to come. God told the Israelites to get comfortable, settle down, and build and in essence take advantage of everything the season of exile had to offer while they waited for His appointed time of deliverance. His promise to them was that at the end of the season, their deliverance would come but it was important that they did not waste the lessons and blessings of the season while waiting.

This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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…”

Jeremiah 29: 10-11 NIV

You see many of us quote the latter part of that scripture about God’s plans to give us a future and a hope with abandon but if you read this scripture in context, you will see it was part of an assurance to the Israelites during their season of exile. God was encouraging them to use the season of exile wisely because the plans that He had for them was to prosper them in the season of captivity and exile and bring them to the future state of deliverance they imagined better off than they currently were.

What season of life are you currently in? What are you waiting on God to do for you? Are you in between jobs? Waiting for your healing? Expecting a breakthrough in a particular area of your life? Grieving a loss? Disappointed at the outcomes of your life’s circumstances? Or are you celebrating great wins and successes in your life? Whatever, your season, there is a lesson and a blessing. And while I pray that the difficult seasons do not last long and that light breaks forth like the dawn over every gloomy circumstance, my greatest prayer is that you do not miss the opportunities God has in store for you during whatever season of your life. And particularly for those going through untoward circumstances, I pray that you do not miss out on what God is doing because you are only looking for respite and if it is God’s plan to prosper you in that particular season, may He give you the grace to get comfortable in that season. His plan for your life does not bring you harm and disaster but are for your well- being to bring you to the future you hope for.

I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for…[for it is the LORD who changes the times and seasons]

Jeremiah 29: 11GNB/ Daniel 2:21 NIV

Yours Truly

Do not settle!

Have you ever felt the passion of a dream get snuffed out and you had no desire to pursue that dream any longer? Have you lost the oomph for something that you once held so dear? Have you every given up the pursuit of some ambition? I certainly have. When I was much younger I thought I would grow up to be a doctor. Every thing I did in my childhood, my elementary, and secondary education had prepared me for this dream. In fact, I had started on the course in pursuit of a career as a medical doctor but along the way I settled for something else.

This past sunday, my pastor drew my attention to a passage of scripture that I have glossed over many a times. This is the story of Abraham’s father Terah:

Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran.

Genesis 11: 31-32 NIV

Terah had started a journey to Canaan- a land that becomes very symbolic and important to the Israelites many generations later; a land that was to be the promised land of the Israelites. Whether by his own design or by God’s divine providence, Terah had a desire to relocate to Canaan. God’s desire was for his chosen people whom he had not called out as at yet to always possess the land of ancient Canaan. That dream had been conceived in the heart of Terah and whether he knew it then or not, he had answered the call. But something interesting happens: somewhere between Ur of the Chaldeans and the promised land, Terah settles. We know from Chapter 12 that Terah settles in Harran so much so that he establishes his household in Harran and becomes a full citizen of Harran along with his entire household. He stops in Harran, he establishes himself in Harran, and finally he dies in Harran without ever making it to the promised land.

So I ask again, have you every given up the pursuit of an ambition and settled for less than? There is an interesting passage from the psalm that gives me lots of comfort in times of uncertainty with my ambitions and desires:

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 BSB

Over the years, I have come to interpret this that not just that God giving us the things we desire but also that He places those desires in our hearts in the first place- just as He may have done for Terah to motivate him to move to Canaan. As I delight myself in God he gives me desires towards my life’s ambition to fulfil the purpose for which he has called me. And so my encouragement for myself and to you dear reader is to persevere and not settle in Harran (whatever your Harran may be).

There is another great lesson to be learnt from this story that I cannot overlook, with more eternal ramifications. Just like Terah, we are only to be sojourners on this earth. Your starting point – your Ur of the Chaldeans- is your geographical location on earth but the end point – your Canaan and promised land- is in Heaven with our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Many, like Terah, have settled for the pleasures of Harran (things of earthly benefits but certainly little to no eternal ones) and have missed out on all the good things of Canaan (Heaven). Lets take a lesson from Terah… set your sight on the end goal.. persevere to the end where the reward of eternal life far outweighs any reward of the life here on earth. I leave you with a verse to ponder:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

Yours Truly.

Shout out to Pastor Kirk Cowman of Living Hope Alliance Church.