Jer 29:4-6 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all … whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters … that you may be increased there, and not diminished.

There is no place for despondency and moping in God’s purposes. These verses are a prophecy that Jeremiah gave to the people of Israel after they had been taken to Babylon as captives. This had happened, because God’s people had continued to sin even after He had given them many, many warnings. Eventually, God brought Nebuchanesser, the King of Babylon, to conquer Israel and take the people captive. God had, however, earlier promised through Jeremiah that this would be a temporary arrangement and that He would return the people to Israel after seventy years. In this prophecy of Jeremiah, God gives them instructions as to how they are to behave while in Babylon. In summary, God is saying, do not resist what has happened to you, do not wallow in despair and self pity, but rather live normal lives; establish somewhere to live, provide food for yourselves, marry and have children and grandchildren. This latter command was given because God wanted His people to increase in numbers while they were captives, so that there would be a good number to return to the land later.

This prophecy contains a crucial message that is a recurring theme in God’s dealings. It is the message that we are to make the best of the circumstances that He has orchestrated, whether they are pleasant and we are successful, or difficult and we are impoverished. As long as He has caused our circumstances! It could be that we have sinned and for a season God is discipling us, so that we learn to behave, it could be that He has blessed us and we are delighting in abundance, it could be that we are being persecuted because we have been faithful to the Gospel. God expects us to make the most of each and every situation.

Rather than rebelling against what is happening, rather than griping and complaining, graciously accept that you are in God’s hands and He has lead you to the position you now find yourself. Accept it and make the most of it, whatever it is. This does not mean that we should be completely passive, and if opportunity arises to go in a different direction, that is consistent with God will, we should not be afraid to take it. But if God has brought us into a trying situation and there is no alternative, it is important that we are overcomes in just that place! Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Rom 8:37)