Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Choice for Exile

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OK ... I'm going to take a sharp turn that'll lead straight to a subject I don't much consider on a day-to-day basis: living in exile.
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I wish I could tell you why it's been a recurring theme in my thoughts in recent weeks. I haven't a clue. All I know is that it's important, and comforting.
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A number of you have shared that you are studying the Book of Jeremiah. What a book! It's what I've chosen to ponder as well, though hardly did I think it would stir in me so many thoughts and feelings, especially while I made my way in foreign lands. Perhaps there was no better way to grasp what it might mean to be in exile - - an object-lesson, no doubt.
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From Merriam we learn that exile means:
a : the state or a period of forced absence from one's country or home.
b : the state or a period of voluntary absence from one's country or home.
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So we see that a person living in exile might be someone driven away, or drawn away. One's forced; the other is by choice. Fact is, Jesus Himself chose to be exiled. It changed everything - for everyone, forever..
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This is what we see in chapter 29 of Jeremiah's indepth telling of Israel's Babylonian exile. It came upon the heals of some very difficult times; times brought on largely by Israel's own ungodliness. You might say the perfect geo-political storm had brewed, and now the people of Israel were actually instructed by God to go willingly, even eagerly with their captors. Their very lives depended on their obedience.
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Furthermore, He instructs them (and us) how to live while banished from their homeland.
  • Accept what is.
  • Settle down; settle in.
  • Prepare to care for yourself.
  • Make plans.
  • Go about your normal routines.
  • Seek the peace and prosperity of the land around you.
  • Remain alert; focused on God's word (and truth).
  • Reject lies and deceptions.
  • Be at peace.
As Jeremiah tells us, there's great freedom in chosen exile. Forced exile is hideous by comparison, with slavery being it's unwanted by-product.
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It occurs to me that equally perfect storms brew in our lives on a variety of levels every day - not the least of which is our current geo-political condition. I am greatly concerned (I could write a small Thesis on those concerns), though I am greatly comforted as well. Some things simply must be.
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Thus I choose to live in exile.
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While I relish life - the wonder and mystery of it most of all - the moment I stepped onto the soil of God's kingdom was the moment I chose to become an exile. And no matter the literal soil upon which my feet trod, I know my ambition for living is richest when hitched to God's perfect design.
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Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business and to work
with your hands, just as we told you,
so that your daily life may win the respect
of outsiders and so that you will not be
dependent on anybody.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
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16 comments:

Rose said...

Kathleen,

Over the years I have heard expressions such as, "we are strangers living in a foreign land" or "we are a peculiar people" and they seemed to be just words. Like it was more of an ideal than actual life. After reading your blog and I guess really "connecting the dots" it seems more of a reality. It's a choice, to accept the instructions and apply them. Thank you for this blog, it helps a lot with a couple of things I just couldn't seem to grasp. Perhaps I chose not too, but again....thanks! I needed this.

Andrea said...

For me the most important thing to remember when in exile is "be at peace."

Blessings and prayers, andrea

manthano said...

Thanks Kathleen.

I fear as Christians we have
settled in O.K. But forget
this is not our permanent home.
Thus our heart is here. Not up
there.

Loren said...

Just found your blog and wanted to say WOW! So happy I did!

Will be back again and again :)

Bless you

Just a little something from Judy said...

Just for a brief time, this is our home, despite how quickly we forget and look about us with the thought of permanence. I like your post. It is a needed reminder for all of us as God's children...we are just passing through. The best is yet to come. Thank you my friend.

MOMSWEB said...

I agree with Andrea...most important to me is to be at peace. Ahhhh....a peace that surpasses ALL understanding.

Have a great week!

Saleslady371 said...

For me, it is a matter of trust...because I like it my way. When God moved us out of Chicago to AZ, I thought I would die. The spiritual lessons He continues to teach me is that I really live when I give up my plan for His. Truly, He has the best in store for us!

sonja said...

Such a good reminder of how He means for us to live. As always, the problems come when we choose to do it OUR way. Really loved those words!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Important message.

I try to remember to always focus on the fact that our self imposed exiles and those of life's trials are only temporary and soon we will be in our permanent home. What a glorious day!

Heart2Heart said...

Kathleen,

Thanks for taking me back to my roots of my salvation. I need that constant reminder that we are just visitors here in this world and life will be difficult for us that believe in Jesus but our reward is worth it all!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

christy rose said...

It is an interesting perspective to think that we are living in exile in this world that we live in. There is great freedom in knowing that. We are just making this our home for the time being. But, of course, we are to be ambassadors of where we truly are from, exemplifying behavior and living by the standards of our true government. We are aliens. We should look, act, and operate our lives as so. People from here should be able to know that we are in exile. And, so they will, when we see that the big picture of God's plan for our lives is to radiate His glory and display the power of His kingdom in our lives.

Beth E. said...

Living in exile....that has a nice ring to it, Sassy!

You've written a beautiful post...the scripture at the end sums it up very nicely, doesn't it?

Blessings to you,
Beth

skoots1mom said...

the Disciple class i'm facilitating has been studying Jeremiah...and i've referenced Leviticus in my post today (talking about God caring for the Israelites in the desert under each woven roof)
:)

a portland granny said...

What a truly wonderful post. I suppose we all have some sort of 'exile' in our lives and your list for learning to live in that state was perfect.

Hoping to talk to you soon--lots to share.

So happy for you that you had this wonderful trip together. I loved reading your descriptions of all the places you visited...and especially enjoyed your description of Switzerland, the land of my heritage!!

Nel said...

You have such a way with words my friend! We do need to remember this is not permanent, that a better day is coming. That should put a smile on all of our faces!
God is so good to us!

Denise said...

Powerful reminder.