Josh j Smith

Greener Grass
October 3, 2008, 1:04 pm
Filed under: theology | Tags:


I was caught off guard a couple of weeks ago.  The older couple stood in front of the community on Sunday morning and began to tell their testimony in the form of a fairy tale for the sake of creativity, I guess.  I was barely listening, and then they quoted the infamous passage that is a comfort to all.  The one where God says, “For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I frantically picked up my bible to look at the passage in its entirety hoping to find a reason not to hope.  

Why would I not want to hope?  I don’t know.  But have you ever noticed that testimonies in church are typically happily-ever-after stories.  The crappier it is before God delivers – the better the story.  My only complaint is that they are a bit cliche.  And is there ever an appropriate time for testimonies to be pre-redemption.  Maybe it would allow room for people to provide hope to each other in other forms.    

So I read all of Jeremiah 29 for the remainder of the couple’s testimony.  It was a moment where everything in the room seemed to fade away and heaven began to descend.  I was reading the words off the page, but it as if they were cutting out the rotten spots my heart had formed.  It was a moment where all had come together and I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.

The irony of the infamous passage in Jeremiah 29  is that God was challenging his people to be present in the midst of suffering.  He was challenging his people who became exiles, living in a foreign land, to be a blessing to that land as if it were their own.  In other words the hopeful words in Jeremiah 29.11 are NOT words to hope for something better later.  They are words to make the present better.  

The cheesy testimony was not so cheesy anymore.  Gina, my wife, was caught off guard to point of crying.  God graciously forced us to listen to what he wanted to say, when we probably would have used the testimony as comic relief.  




1 Comment so far
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I hate it when that passage gets used too. *sigh*. maybe i should read it through.

Comment by matt

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