Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf,
for when it thrives, you will thrive.
Jeremiah 29:7 (CSB)
Not here. I didn’t want to be here. I wanted home. I wanted my friends and community back. I wanted to return to the way things were before people wrecked both our community and workplace. I wanted it to be the way it was before whole departments vanished, before the friends and coworkers my husband and I so dearly loved were forced to move away — before we too were forced to move away.
I sat on the couch and gazed out the window as portions of Psalm 137 floated around inside of me, “By the rivers of Babylon — there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion . . . How can we sing the Lord’s song on foreign soil?” (Psalm 137:1, 4). I was a foreigner here, weeping — with no friends, no church, and no community when I needed them most.
Not only did I have to work to forgive those who had wrecked our community, I had to do it while wounded and left for dead. How does one escape such profound sadness and creeping bitterness? Slowly and painfully.
Little by little I forced my gaze off of myself and onto Jesus. I trained my eyes on Jeremiah 29:7: “Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.” I feebly clung to this verse, trusting I’d eventually move through my grief as I sought this city’s welfare.
Perhaps if it were up to you, you wouldn’t be where you are today. Maybe you feel unknown, alone, and out of context. I understand. Yet while you’re here, why not pray for friends to come along and ask the Lord how you can seek welfare for this place? Soon you’ll find your welfare is wrapped up in the welfare of the people who are right around you, right here.
This message was written by Marlena Graves and appears in A Moment to Breathe, a 365-day devotional from the (in)courage community.