By Sara-May Cardy
As I spend more time trying to understand what the missional conversation looks like in my context, there are a few passages that have stood out to me. One of the key passages for me has been Jeremiah 29:4-7:
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
Over the next few blog posts I’ll share what I have been processing from the individual verses and how they have been shaping my journey to be more on mission in my city. One of the first things that sticks out to me in verse 4 is the phrase “I carried into exile.” I find it really significant for two reasons:
- God was involved in their placement in Babylon. The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, was the one that carried them into exile. It did not happen by accident, God was purposefully involved in it.
- They were carried. They weren’t thrust into exile, they weren’t forced into exile, they were carried into exile. Two definitions for the word carried that I think really apply here:
- To support and move (someone or something) from one place to another
- Support the weight of
God intentionally moved them from Jerusalem to Babylon, supporting them as he moved them. The idea that God intentionally and carefully takes us into places that we wouldn’t choose to go has changed how I see my role in the community and city that I am a part of.
How God has Carried Me
From a young age, I dreamt of being involved in international missions. I grew up in a home where my mom modeled what it looks like to live a life that is for others. Many of my mom’s friends from Bible School were involved in international missions. I loved hearing their stories and I wanted to follow in their footsteps and get involved in ministry outside of Canada. This passion grew into a love for other cultures and it has led me to Central America, Asia, Europe and the UK.
I was convinced for years that God’s ultimate plan for me would be found internationally and when door after door closed, I really started to struggle. I knew that it was important to care about what God was doing in my own country but I really wanted to be anywhere but here. There were many times that staying in Canada has felt like exile from the dreams I have been so certain God had given me.
Over the last few years however, I have become more and more convinced that God places each of us in a particular place for a reason. He absolutely has been involved in where I am currently placed in my community. There were two events in particular that solidified that for me.
Four years ago when I was looking for somewhere new to live, finding my apartment happened way too easily. It was one of the first ones that I found in my price range and the first one that I inquired about. I quickly received a time to view the apartment, met my landlords and after a brief conversation they had decided that I was the one they wanted to rent to. Within 24hours I had the apartment! I had just started a new job and my apartment is right up the road from the office – the move felt so right.
A while later, as I was starting to work up the courage to take some bigger steps in getting to know my neighbours, it looked like I was going to have to move due to a rent increase. It didn’t make sense to me because I had been so sure that this was where I was supposed to be living. In the midst of this, I received the offer of some financial gifts that affirmed to me that God wanted me to be where I was. It was really only after that, that I felt like I could start to settle into life in my apartment building because I could no longer doubt that God wanted me here.
This realization has shaped the next steps I’ve taken on mission, which we’ll look at in the next couple of posts.