How to Live in Exile

Legacy Ladies Note: This blog series is inspired by For the Life of the World, a film series that explores the deeper meaning of salvation. It discusses how we can steward every economy in our lives (creative service, wonder, the church, etc.) to proclaim God’s glory, so that the world might come to know Him. This is the first article in this series.


By Rachel Gardner

Welcome, friends. Today we’re camping out in Jeremiah 29:4-11. In this passage, God is speaking to the Israelites, His chosen and beloved people, through the prophet Jeremiah before they go into exile for 70 years (that’s a long time away from home).

God commands the Israelites to root themselves in exile: build houses, plant trees, continue through generations, “and seek the peace of the city… for in its peace you will have peace” (v.5-7).  Basically, He tells them to make exile their home. Now I don’t know about you, but making my home in the least homey place possible does not sound fun.

The big picture perspective is this: Earth is exile.

It is not our final destination, nor where our citizenship lies (Philippians 3:20). We can confidently live in exile knowing we are going home. And while we’re here, we can actively invest in the wellbeing of our communities because our exile isn’t changing. God tells His people to create and produce in order to influence the culture despite the state of that culture, and we can do the same. As believers, we are setting an example that contributes not only to our immediate community in exile, but to the life of the world.

When it comes to exile, I think about my time living in Florida. I will admit I was initially hesitant to put down roots because I did not see myself living here very long, and I feared that new roots would negate my old ones in my “real” home. I questioned: Would I have the time or opportunity to create something meaningful? Was it even worth it?

I came to a place where my soul was aching deeply to be reconnected with the church and its people, and when I removed the imaginary barrier I constructed God filled my life with His glorious handiwork. I started engaging in my church, friendships, fellowship, and community, and my roots from home grew deeper, too. I find over and over that when you invest your resources into His kingdom, He will not let that return be empty.

With new insight on verses 4-10 I find so much more beauty in what God tells the Israelites in Jeremiah 29:11: “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.”

Isn’t it marvelous how God fulfills His promises? He brought them out of exile, and He brought us Jesus Christ, our ultimate hope.

God is lovingly watching over us even in moments where it doesn’t feel loving. He has a good plan at work, not because it is easy, but because He has sovereignly placed it over us. We trust in His ability to work in realms beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:8) to bring about the greatest good for not just our world, but all of creation. Exile is temporary. Jesus is eternal.

Also Read:

Why Does Work Matter?

How our Ability to Wonder is a Gift from God

What is the Purpose of the Church?

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