Living Well in Tough Circumstances

By: Jill Briscoe

Jeremiah and Baruch continued their work with the Word of God, and the opposition did their level best to silence them, even putting Jeremiah under house arrest. They did not, however confine Baruch. Perhaps Baruch’s friends put in a good word for him. Maybe there were sympathetic people in the government than we know about who could pull a few strings. In any case, surely God’s hand kept Baruch free for the job He wanted him to do. Having Jeremiah confined to his quarters did not stop the men from doing their work. In fact, it was in this restricted situation that they accomplished their work, and precious scrolls were written.

I think of the apostle Paul in prison saying, “What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Phil. 1:12). Would the prison epistles have been written without the prison? Hardly. Imagine doing without the book of Philippians! Would the book of Jeremiah be in our Bible today if Jeremiah had remained a free man? Jeremiah and Baruch learned to see an opportunity in every difficulty and used their time of forced inactivity to good advantage.

Do you find yourself confined to the house? Do you feel as if you are under house arrest? You can feel like that if you have small children and you are a stay-at-home mom. You can identify if you are fighting a chronic disease and you are home for a long recuperation. Perhaps you are a caregiver and restricted by your responsibilities. There are myriad ways you can understand the feelings of Jeremiah and Baruch. There is so much to do, and yet you have been put under house arrest! Use the time. If God wanted you out and about you would be out and about. The Lord gave the two men a gift of grace when He game them this period of forced confinement.

I remember feeling as though I was under house arrest when I was a young mother and my husband was traveling. I was shut up for endless days and nights in a small house with three children below school age. One day in the middle of my quiet time a still small voice said, It’s a gift. Why don’t you say thank you? If I had failed the test of treating this period of time as a privilege rather than as a punishment, I would have missed the opportunity to begin to develop my writing skills. Looking back, I have never since had such a sweet time of productivity. Listen to God's voice. He is saying, “It’s a gift!”

God gave “house arrest” to Jeremiah, and he accepted it and exploited it for the Lord. “’Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah and all the other nations from the time I began speaking to you in the reign of Josiah till now,’ the Lord instructed Jeremiah” (Jer. 36:2). So the two servants of the Lord used the tough circumstances of arrest as a time to work hard to finish the scrolls.  Jeremiah had to remember, perhaps with the help of notes, twenty years’ worth of messages, and Baruch painstakingly wrote them down.

How does God want to use your “house arrest”?

Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.