Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Advice To An Exile--Me!

In the Old Testament we find a letter written from the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. I love this letter and consider it a letter to me because just as the Jews were exiled from their home, I have been “exiled” from my heavenly home and can learn much from Jeremiah’s advice. These Jewish exiles have been taken captive to Babylon where their captors hope to assimilate them into Babylonian culture and make them friends of the empire instead of enemies. They are in a foreign environment and experiencing many things that they consider shouldn’t be, and are unable to keep many of the traditions and commandments they know should be.

From Jerusalem Jeremiah writes this letter urging the people to make the best of the situation. He tells them to “Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them” (Jeremiah 29:5). To be happy they need to accept the truth of their new surroundings, to concentrate on what they can do not on what they can’t do. He goes on, “Seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 28:7). In other words, don’t fight the truth of your new reality. Learn to live the best you can within that reality. Make peace with your new world.

Then Jeremiah says to them, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (KJV Jeremiah 29:11). The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible translates that verse as, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”

That’s what we have—a future with hope. We are foreigners in a telestial world, but God has a plan for us and His plan is for our best good. We will experience things in this world that we have been taught “should not be”—things that will not be part of a celestial world, but instead of fighting against them, we can accept them as telestial truths and then deal with them in the most celestial way possible knowing that “all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another” (D&C 90:24).

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