If I admit something to you that you may find shocking, or at least slightly inappropriate, do you promise to still be my friend? Here it is: I love “The Walking Dead” tv show! My guys got me into it during the first season and I’m hooked. OK, you promised, so now you have to keep reading. This blog isn’t about zombies or guilty pleasures. But the title, “Here’s Not Here” is a quote by one of the main characters this season. It’s how he deals with the reality around him of a post-apocalyptic world.
My latest revelation in the special mom journey, is realizing that – for all those early years, the struggle-to-comprehend years, the more-questions-than-answers years – Here’s not Here. Let me explain, with the help of my (least) favorite prophet, Jeremiah.
I decided about 10 years ago that my personal favorite verse in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
It’s the peace and comfort remedy to an uncertain “now”, to know that my future is good and planned by the Lord. Full disclosure, I don’t think I’d ever read Jeremiah 29:1-10, or anything after it either. But I recently read the whole book, and when I came upon this verse, the context was strange and almost bewildering.
Jeremiah’s job was to predict and sound alarm bells about the coming destruction of Israel and subsequent captivity of God’s people. He warned them over and over that they were being deceived, they weren’t following God, and that the consequences would be severe.
Jeremiah 29:11 is the promise that comes with the news that your whole life is about to be turned upside down. These people were receiving a prognosis that sounded awful. They didn’t want it, understand it, or think they deserved it. But with the prognosis God told them two important things:
(1) live at peace in the place I’m sending you. The place of the bad prognosis where you would’ve never chosen to go. In fact, you’ll have to be taken there in chains, fighting every step of the way. But live in peace there, enjoy your life, be fruitful in that place and pray for it. (Jer. 39:7)
(2) my plans for you are good and prosperous. Going to this place is part of it – trust me that you will have a future and a hope after this coming rough season. Just keep your faith and you’ll end up being able to look back and see that my plans were good all along. In this land of exile is where you will experience my presence. (Jer. 29:10-11)
I never knew how much Jeremiah 29:11 actually applied to my life as a special needs mom. I can say now, 15 years later, that the word of God is true and He is faithful. Don’t let the prognosis get you down, it’s the beginning of a story where you can live in peace, and experience God’s presence, and eventually see His promise fulfilled in your life.
The place of exile – in my case the prognosis – isn’t where I am. Rather, this whole time I’ve been in His hands and living out His plans for good. Take heart and meditate on this conclusion: Here’s not Here.