Why would God bring our soul to a place of captivity?

Why would God bring our soul to a place of captivity?

I sat. stood. slept. Frozen — paralyzed by emotion and unable to move forward. Held in captivity. Before me flowed impossibility the likes of the Red Sea. On either side taunts and mockery of brokenness, dreams interrupted, and deep depression. Behind me surged the enemy’s threats and rapid advance.

I was stuck, held captive by unseen forces, principalities of darkness.

But didn’t God promise me a future and a hope?

Yes … yes, He did.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

But I was still frozen, immobilized — held captive.

And then the Lord showed me something wonderful.

How many times have we quoted Jeremiah when life got hard and confusing? Often! It’s a go-to promise among Christian circles. And yes, it is a powerful Truth that the Lord is Sovereign and orchestrates every day of our lives.

Even our days of captivity.

I turned to Jeremiah 29. The Lord asked me to put verse eleven into context. Imagine that.

Chapter twenty-nine of Jeremiah is a letter penned by Jeremiah to the children of Israel who, in 597 B.C., were carried away captive by King Nebuchadnezzar from Jerusalem to Babylon. Verse four reads, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon …”

“… whom I have caused to be carried away [into captivity] … “

What? Have you ever seen that before? Me, either. And there’s more.

The Lord instructed them to flourish in their captivity.

“Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit … be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”~ Jeremiah 29:5-7

Flourish. The Lord calls us to flourish in our captivity — and to seek peace in that very place, to increase and not be diminished.

Isn’t this the very basis of trust? Determining to be at peace in the place — the season the Lord has placed us in? Regardless? And then to determine to flourish there — to make a difference in the lives of others, to magnify the Lord in all things, to bear fruit even if it must grow and thrive through the chain-links wrapped around our very soul.

Yes, maybe that’s what real trust looks like because just a few verses later comes that wonderful promise:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope.

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; … and I will bring you to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14

He knows. He holds our tomorrows. And He loves us — deeply.

Perhaps He allows us to be carried into captivity so we fully learn to trust that He is the One who is sovereign over our lives, He is the One who will bring us through to the other side restored and stronger because of the difficult, paralyzing place.

Maybe. Probably.

Isn’t He wonderful? He is faithful to carry us into our future of hope, fully trusting that He is sovereign over all things.


Congratulations to Kathy Talley Grey! Kathy won an autographed copy of my book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife, in August’s drawing from my blog subscribers. Won’t you join us too?