‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for you to prosper and not for harm, to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11
God’s people had been exiled, away from everything that was secure and safe. Everything that helped God feel close, all that had kept them hopeful. A small amount had been left behind to keep normal going in the place where they all once been. Life was now different but there were plans to restore the people of God. The people had almost lost the memory of what was normal, what felt good, what life used to be like.
So Imagine the upheaval to restore the people to their places – the energy required, the trust needed, the journey to be travelled.
In the coming weeks there may well be an opportunity for some to be restored back to school and work.
The restoration will not be without worry or uncertainty around who, what, where, when and most importantly how.
So maybe we need to remind ourselves that restoration starts with ‘rest’.
Our new day begins with the rest of sleep.
Our new week begins with the rest that is our Sabbath – our weekend.
Our new term begins with a break.
It is a chance to be restored in body, mind and spirit through rest.
Rest restores our energy levels.
Sleep restores our bodies and Peace restores our thoughts.
As if God planned for our needs by providing spaces to rest and be restored.
I wonder what we need to do in order to feel restored for the next part of the plan.
I wonder how we need to rest and ready ourselves in time for the next term.
As the leadership plan for the future – as they always do – may we remind ourselves that they will plan for all to prosper and not to be harmed.
Pray for them as they try and reassure everyone and as they try to work the unworkable to make it right.
Remember they care for us as if we were their children, they shepherd us as if we were their flock.
As we prepare ourselves for the next phase of separation or restoration, may we rest in the knowledge that there is hope and that God is planning for us too. Plans that we will prosper and succeed, plans that will bring us peace and not disaster, plans for our rest and restoration.
And though the waiting is long, and the uncertainty is uncomfortable:
May God grant you His Peace – a Peace that is beyond our understanding - and Keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God. Amen.