Bible Reading: Jeremiah 29:1-14

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.” (Jeremiah 29:4-6)

With the lockdown extended for another month, how are we feeling? Most of us are probably disappointed and discouraged at the fact that we cannot leave our homes for another month. We question, it has already been one month, why another one? This lockdown has restricted our ability to meet friends, go to school, and, most importantly, worship at church. We might finally be feeling the weight of what it means to be restricted and having graces from God pulled away. 

In one sense, the coronavirus can be thought of as God’s divine hand of judgment, which blows us to realise we are nothing before God. It may be the rod that chastens us for our idolatry to the world and ourselves. Yet, on the other hand, God promises that all things work for the good of His people. 

In a similar situation to ours, when the Jews were exiled to Babylon, God reminded them in a letter that He was and still is “the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel”. In these times, let us remember that God is sovereign and in His good providence, He has brought us once again into this lockdown situation. 

At that time, many false prophets stood up to falsely testify that the exile would be cut short and that they would be freed after about two years (see Jeremiah 28:1-17). However, God says that after a lifetime, 70 years, He would restore His people. But, in the meantime, God had other plans. God did not intend the Jews to sulk their way through 70 years of exile. Rather, God told them to settle down and get to work for the welfare of the place they lived in. 

Wherever we are, or in whatever circumstance we may find ourselves in, God has a plan and a purpose. Yes, lockdown conditions are not ideal, nor are they pleasant. Yet, God has a good plan and a purpose for us to make good use of the time we have in lockdown. We should not live carelessly in these times as if we are people without hope. Our hopes are fixed in God, who does not change and is for us in Christ. Our lives are secure in Him, and He has promised us eternal life. 

So, what are practical things we can do with this lockdown? It is simple. Though we cannot come to church or serve in our regular ministries, there are many things we can do to prepare and equip ourselves even more for the future. As young people, we are often too quick to move. We are too confident in the little knowledge and experience that we have. Yet, if we want to be people who are greatly used by God, we must humbly learn from those before us. 

Where has God called you to serve? What are your talents? Improve your skills in that area. Read books, take online courses, practice that skill. Enhance your knowledge and understanding to the best of your ability. Don’t waste your time. 

Above all, take time to dig deep into God’s Word. If we want to be used by God to tell others about God, we must know God. We must know Him on a personal level. Take time to pray and earnestly seek God through His Word. He will reveal Himself to all those who earnestly seek Him. 

Lord, thank You that You are always good. Your plans are not our plans, but You have plans for every second of our lives for our good and Your glory. Praise be to You! Please help us trust in You in these times and learn to get to know You and better equip ourselves to be used by You. In Jesus’ name, amen.