For some time now, I’ve been in exile. I’ve had to sit a few opportunities out because either the timing was wrong or God has simply said, “No, you have to wait.” I’ve come to learn something. There is a certain strength that is built in a man when in exile. Brian Hardin founder of dailyaudiobible.com and a mentor of mine put some perspective on this for me earlier this year.
Arguably the most quoted bible verse over the last few years has been Jeremiah 29:11, it reads:
“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 a great scripture, no doubt. But like so many scriptures it is at times used and understood out of context. You see, in the context of this scripture, the Hebrew people found themselves in exile. It was a harsh enslavement in a foreign land under the authority of a demented king. Jerusalem was all but a faded memory. They weren’t going home soon, and when they did, it wasn’t going to be the same. That’s a hard place to be.
For men, circumstances of exile are often the times that define our story. Sometimes God has to exile us in order to show us who we really are. It’s like, in order to give us His identity, we have to be stripped of what we have become by the terms of life and the world.
The challenge is, are we willing to be exiled?
The Hebrew people had to learn that in their exile, life had to go on. They had to plant fields, they had to teach their children, they had to work with what they had, where they were. It was in these times in the monotony of mere existence that God began to remind the Israelites of who they were. They were a people set apart as His own, a people meant to usher His son into the world. In the same way, God uses exile in us to build the capacity He needs in order to take us where He’s going. Therefore, in much the same way as He used the Israelites, God uses believers today as emissaries of His son Jesus in the world. As Christians we are the light of the world, it should be through our existence that Jesus is known. Exile gets us ready to move in truth and in authority. So I ask, what are you doing in your exile, are you letting God build capacity?