Writing

Learning in Exile

The last 5 days of remote learning have made me want to cry more times than homeschooling for 4 years ever did. The girls really have been great and their teachers are wonderful. Still, it’s stressful for everyone all around.

Distance learning isn’t my first, or even second choice, but isn’t that what life is like these days for everyone? We’re educating kids, celebrating birthdays, getting married, birthing babies, grieving deaths, and worshipping together the best we can given the circumstances. Yet when it comes down to it, what we end up settling with can feel like just that— settling.

Ours is not the only time and place the people of God have been asked to live, work, love, and worship in less-than-ideal circumstances.

I think of the prophet Jeremiah. Build houses! Plant gardens! Start families! Pray for your city! Seek God!, he instructed. Not strange things, except that God’s people were to do this in Babylon, the land of their captors.

It is to these exiles that God declared, “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.” (Jer. 9:21). Deliverance would come, but not for another 70 years. Until then, they were to live life where they found themselves. And as they lived, they were to trust.

Maybe our times are not as unusual as we think.

On the framed glass my daughter faces as she sits in her virtual classroom are words by Charles Spurgeon.

“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are in, divine love would have put you there.”

As we gear up for a week of school, they are for me. They tell me, Yes, you are frustrated, sad, pleading for all this to end soon, and rightfully so. But don’t forget you do this as one who is loved by the Sovereign of the universe.

Beloved, we are not living God’s contingency plan.

We walk into the week loved by a God who is committed to our good.

Our children sit down for class beside the One who is working all things for their flourishing even now.

So here’s to the next 5 days of Google Classroom and Zooming kids. To leaning on grace and trusting his ways, here where divine love has placed us.

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