Have you ever read Jeremiah 32? I absolutely love this story in the Bible: the Babylonian army has moved in, and the land of Israel is under siege. They’re about to be overtaken by their enemies. In fact, God is saying YOU ARE going to be overtaken by your enemies. The situation is less than dismal. It’s a war zone. And yet, in the midst of this heartbreak, God tells Jeremiah, the prophet, to buy a field.
Say what?! The land is torn apart, the city is about to be taken over, covered in famine, disease, war. And yet, God tells Jeremiah to purchase land, to invest his money and his heart in that land. God promises Jeremiah what will one day come again in his land: weddings and dances, joy and singing. It’s like purchasing property in a land controlled by ISIS.
I was recently sorting through some old items that I had stored away in a box. I came across an old baby rattle. The one my son used when he was just a teeny. It’s worn now with scratches and marks. To anyone else, it is just a cheap rattle. To me, it is my field. A reminder of the Lord’s covenant to me.
It was a few years back, when my husband and I were trying to grow our family. We were so excited when the day came and we saw the positive pregnancy test! Dreams of what this child would become, of potential names, of baby clothes and congratulations cards from family around the globe. And then, after 3 months of life, our baby left us. Left us for Heaven. We were devastated. We waited a year and tried again. This time I miscarried very early on. Two babies. Two big question marks for God. Two scars.
I was petrified to try again. We saw doctors and received advice and prayed. And eventually hoped again. A third pregnancy was confirmed. Initial excitement followed by intense fear. What if we lost this baby again? I prayed for life. We prayed for life. We recruited all of our friends and family to pray for life. And then I started spotting. Not a good sign if you have not carried a baby to full term. I was undone. I literally did not know how to move even one step ahead. I cried out to God. It was all I could do.
And God told me, as He told Jeremiah, to go and buy a field. In the midst of what looked hopeless, with the enemy pressing in and the potential of death literally just around the corner, go and buy a field. I could not shake this Holy Spirit thought. I knew that I was to go to the toy section of our local store and make a purchase; I was to buy something that my baby would one day play with.
At first, I ignored the thought. I didn’t want to be foolish and fix my faith on what was my own idea. But the thought persisted. I didn’t want to say it aloud. To admit God might be asking me to take a position of faith in something that would break me if it didn’t work out. But the thought persisted.
And then I read this verse in Isaiah 49:
The children you shall have, after you have lost the other, shall say again in your ears: this place is too narrow for me. Give me a place that I might dwell.
I told my husband what I felt like God was nudging me to do. He agreed it was right. We went to the store. We found a set of rattles. We paid for them and brought them home. I set them up as a reminder of what God had spoken.
There was more spotting. I filled my walls with promises that the Holy Spirit was whispering to me. Promises of life and hope. With every one, I was still petrified. I never felt “full of faith”. But I learned in the process that faith is not reliant on our emotions.
When we can’t make it through the next hour without doubting, to come back to the truth that God is good and He does not lie.
And He did not. After nine months, a very healthy (and huge) 10 lb, 12 oz boy was born to us. And this boy is determined to live. I see it everyday in his sense of wonder and strong, persistent will. God answered my prayer. No, actually, God put the hope in my heart, drew me to pray for it, and then fulfilled the seed He planted.
I don’t know what would have happened if I would have given up. Sometimes I think about that. I’d like to think the outcome would still be the same, but then I see examples in the Bible, examples of people God loved and had great promises for, back down because of fear. Because the giants were too big and they were too small. I’m not sure how your (or my) theology fits into all of that.
I know I’m grateful to follow a God of second chances who doesn’t hold my past over my head.
I am not writing this because I consider myself a person of great faith. Or a strong Shera-type (80s throwback, anyone?) woman. I’m usually very afraid to do what God asks me to do. I have to remind myself with every step that He is good and leads me into what is good. I have to choose to follow His footsteps when I don’t even know how to get out of bed and it seems He’s leading me into the dungeon of despair (He’s not!)
And I have missed it MANY, MANY times. I’m sure there are many acres of Promised Land out there that I could have already conquered had I just stepped out. But God, in His grace, with the hand of Jesus, takes me back to those places so that I can enter in.
I don’t know what you’re next step is. Maybe it’s just to keep breathing. To repeat over and over that you will get through this by the grace of God. That God will work it out for good. Maybe it is to be still and know. Maybe it is to step out and buy a field. I’m not sure. Only the Holy Spirit can show you what His promise is for you. But I do know and believe with all of my being that He will not lead you astray.
After finishing this post, I turned the radio and heard the song, You Never Change. In the days of despair, when you are still in the war zone with no sign of relief, tell your soul to turn to God. Put on worship and lift your eyes to the God who keeps His promise, who is big enough to take care of your giants, and who is able to guide His sheep to safe pasture.
(If you would like to learn how to hear God’s voice with more clarity and in detail, you are so welcome to download my free e-book.)
Until the Singing Returns,
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