For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
…wherever you go I will let you escape with your life. (Jeremiah 45:5)
This is a promise given to you for the difficult places in which you may find yourself – a promise of safety and life even in the midst of tremendous pressure. And it is a promise that adjusts itself to fit the times as they continue to grow more difficult, as we approach the end of this age and the tribulation period.
What does it mean when it says that you will “escape with your life”? It means your life will be snatched from the jaws of the Enemy, as David snatched the lamb from the lion. It does not mean you will be spared the heat of the battle and confrontation with your foes, but it means “a table before [you] in the presence of [your] enemies” (Ps. 23:5), a shelter from the storm, a fortress amid the foe, and a life preserved in the face of continual pressure. It means comfort and hope from God, such as Paul received when he and his friends “were under great pressure,…so that they despaired even of life” (2 Cor. 1:8). And it means the Lord’s divine help, such as when Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12:7) remained, but the power of Christ came to rest upon him, and he learned that God’s “grace is sufficient” (2 Cor. 12:9)….
We often pray to be delivered from afflictions, and even trust God that we will be. But we do not pray for Him to make us what we should be while in the midst of the afflictions. Nor do we pray that we would be able to live within them, for however long they may last, in the complete awareness that we are held and sheltered by the Lord and can therefore continue within them without suffering any harm.
The Savior endured an especially difficult test in the wilderness while in the presence of Satan for forty days and nights,…The three Hebrew young men were kept for a time in the flames of “the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual” (Dan. 3:19)….they remained calm and composed as they waited for their time of deliverance to come. And after surviving an entire night sitting among the lions, “when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God” (Dan. 6:23).
They were able to endure in the presence of their enemies because they dwelt in the presence of their God.
– Lettie Cowman, Streams in the Desert
The Custom Builder
My soul was carefully constructed
of two opposing forces. One that
wants to nest, to tend a place of
otherness, the other to fly freely,
One can travel, but a suitcase does
not a nest make. One can hope to
nest, but some longings, alas, don’t
land with the same capacities that
desires take flight.
The robin in the pine with last season’s
grasses clumped and streaming from
her beak is nesting. I adore this. I adore
my memories of robin nests discovered:
The deep, mud-fiber bowls that hold
beautiful sky-blue eggs, maybe five, then
cheeping nestlings that beg for parental
deliveries all day long, then nothingness.
The robin is common, yes.
Springtime nesting is predictable, yes.
Yet, there is always magic, yes. Always.
As a child I was told that somewhere,
out there, there resides a great custom
All my life, I’ve wondered:
Does he have a plan for me and,
if so, is it ordinary enough to become
– Jamie K. Reaser
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
– Psalms 51:10