Last night I had a dream that one of my university professors from Liberal Studies assigned me the following essay topic: “How Canadian Politics Demonstrates that God has a Plan for Your Life.”
In my dream, I started crying over my sheet of paper. “How on earth will I write this?” I asked. She simply smiled at me, repeated the topic and said that it was due tomorrow on top of my other assignments. I had been debating with her and another professor about the existence of God. “That’s what I get for debating…” I grumbled to myself.
I woke up feeling very bewildered. What did I eat last night? I hadn’t even been thinking about politics. As a matter of fact, I very rarely consider politics, especially the Canadian brand. One reason is because every social media page and conversation around is so chock full of American politics and other international arenas that there doesn’t seem to be room for our own nation. Another reason is that political discussions have caused heated conflict in my circles of friends and family and being the peace lover that I am, I simply steer clear.
But I can’t get this dream out of my head or my professor’s imaginary challenge. My essay skills from college days are a bit dusty and I don’t know if this question has an answer so I will simply share the thoughts that are percolating within me…
I started writing this post a couple of years ago and I cannot remember the thoughts that were percolating within me…
“God has a plan for your life” reminds of one of the most frequently quoted verses in the bible:
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
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.
While many people like the sound of this verse, not many people know the context. Jeremiah is writing to exiles in Babylon Jacob’s children had broken their covenant with God. They failed to love God, love each other and take care of their land. Most of the book of Jeremiah is grim with judgements but Chapter 29 contains hope. “
“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.” (14)
How will this happen? By overcoming Babylon? By rebelling against their new king? No, on the contrary.
Jeremiah instructs the captives to
5″Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.6Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.7Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
They are to do this for 70 years… 70 years?! Never mind a political term of 8 years.
“For I know the plans I have for you…”
God did not want his people to overthrow their captives but bless them and pray for them. He wanted them to care for the land and grow their families.
Okay, now back to Canadian politics. I get phone calls once in a while from political party reps asking for support. You’d think that they would ask for support by saying the good things they will do for the country. That’s what I would like to hear. What are their strengths, their plans, strategies? But no I don’t hear any of that. All I hear is “we need to make sure that other party doesn’t succeed. They are lousy.” I tell them no way am I going to give support for that and promptly hand up. Canadian politics are a teeter totter going nowhere. It seems like one party comes into power and does things and then another party tries to get into power so they can undo everything that was done. I am not being partisan here. This happens across the board. There is conflict and strife in the heart of our nation and it seems like every man is for himself.
We are a democracy but I feel like my vote has very little say and my letters have even less say. I used to lobby for certain things or against certain things but have now come to the conclusion that the government will do what it will and I may as well not try to stand in its way.
The readers of Jeremiah’s letters must have felt even more powerless. They had lost their land, their government and their temple, which was the centre of culture and worship.
How strange the instruction must have sounded to seek the prosperity of Babylon. To settle and prosper there.
Now I am not saying that I am a captive in Canada. By no means! That would dishonour those who truly are captives in their countries and forget the many freedoms and privileges that I have.
But sometimes it is hard to pray blessings for my government. It is hard to seek good to those who don’t seem to deserve it.
It is hard to sing “God keep our land glorious and free” when women and children continue to go missing, when our cities become epicentres for human trafficking, when freedom of speech is being called into question in our universities, when many of our products are made by slaves, even children. When babies are not safe in their mother’s womb and seniors are sitting lonely and hoping to die. When people are calling the street their home because their hard earned wage can’t begin to compare to housing costs. When parents can’t afford to stay home and raise their children. When species are becoming endangered and our oceans are filling with garbage and our forests are flaming because of carelessness. When our great fields of grain are poisoned with pesticides. When one of the most prosperous nations in the world has its very own citizens living without clean drinking water.
These are the things that make my heart hurt in our land. These are things that make me long for restoration. And sadly I think there is very little that Canadian politics can do about it. Politician’s promises go unchecked as parties bicker about who is the greatest.
Jeremiah 29:11 doesn’t give me hope because it promises a quick fix. It gives me hope because it promises a relationship.
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.12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
O Canada, I will stand on guard for thee. I will seek your prosperity. I will seek mercy and justice and pray for your officials. For that is God’s good plan for me.