This poem is based on Jeremiah 29 in which are recorded a word from the Lord for those in exile in Babylon which Jeremiah sent to them as a letter. I have more often heard this passage preached as a strategy for church planting. Granted,it can be helpful. But to reduce it merely as a strategy misses a good bit of what it has to offer. Jeremiah’s letter, is a letter to exiles — a letter to the displaced, the lonely, the dislocated, the powerless. How can you live where you don’t want to live and doing what you don’t want to do, among people you’d rather not be around?

The Lord has many reasons for his people’s exiles, not the least of them is so that they will know that wherever they go, He will always come to them, make his place among them, and never leave them. What is needful then, is not money, influence and power, facilities, or material resources. What is needed is faith. Faith to trust, to not give up, to persist.

If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the poem via the player below.

I didn’t want to live here
Midst these people on this plain
Whose harsh accent grates my ears,
Where no one knows my name.

Shackled, brought to this place
Head hung low, harps hung in trees;
A song unknown, a stranger’s face,
I hear a voice call me.

Grow where you are planted
Live where you are living
Sing till you’re enchanted
Grateful, till you’re giving.

I miss the hills, the mountain side,
The songs I sang ‘neath the trees
At this river I lie beside
A new song sings to me.

Grow where you are planted
Live where you are living
Sing till you’re enchanted
Grateful, till you’re giving.

By full term you shall be ready
Delivered unto new life;
As a strong tower, made steady;
Married, husband and wife.

Until that day, bear patiently;
Through exile, keep love alive;
Walk by faith not aimlessly,
Grow old, have children, thrive.

Grow where you are planted
Live where you are living
Sing till you’re enchanted
Grateful, till you’re giving.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Gebhard Fugel [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

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