The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, September 20, 2021 comes to us from Collin Kelly of Texas
Jeremiah 29:10-14 NIV
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
I watched my mom cry before I turned and walked away, off to my college dorm. I was the first to leave, and she couldn’t handle it. I nearly couldn’t either. Besides the hard goodbyes from my parents and sister, I also had to say goodbye to lifelong friends, my childhood home, and all of their familiar comforts. I knew that the next time I went back, things would be different. Friends who stayed behind would have moved on, and the relationship I had with my family would not be the same. Despite phone calls and text messages, I already felt a sense of separation.
I struggled with the idea of my life changing so rapidly. I prayed, reflected, and asked God for guidance. Just as the disciples had to accept that Jesus was leaving and that their former way of life was over, I had to remember that God led me here. And so I followed. Although the goodbyes were tough, I know they prepared me for my future. Knowing that changes are part of God’s plan for me has made me grateful and optimistic. God is with us every step we take, even if that step is in a new direction.
New College Students.
Thought for the Day:
Change is part of God’s good plan for my life.
Dear God, remind us to trust in you and remain positive in the face of change. Keep us on the path of righteousness as we work to accomplish the goals you have set for us. Amen. –Collin Kelly
Friends – Collin Kelly’s reflection reminds me of similar times when I have experienced similar emotions. I have faced changes like leaving my parents’ home for the first time, marrying, and establishing my own home, moving overseas, and then moving out of state.
As a United Methodist pastor, I have also experienced these struggles every time I have been moved from one appointment to another. I would be leaving people with whom I had shared births, confirmations, and marriages, as well as illnesses and funerals. We were bound together by our journeys of faith.
Every one of those “good-byes” was difficult, some painful, but still I was moving on to establish those same kinds of relationships with other faithful Christians, and God was with me every step of the way and I still trust that I had discerned and followed God’s purpose for me.