A PCC pastor describes the mystery of God’s will with a hearty, “I don’t know,” and lays out a missional plan for all based on the idea that you are where you are because God brought you there.

Why do you live in Los Angeles? Why do you live in the neighborhood that you’re in?

Probably the most frequent conversation I have as a pastor is about God’s plan for our lives. Most of us wrestle with questions like, “What is God doing in my life?”, “Where is He leading me?”, and “Why has He brought me to this place in my life?” On one hand, my usual response is “Great question. I don’t know.” But on the other hand, I find that scripture answers these questions of God’s ultimate purposes for our lives in profound and often surprising ways.

In Jeremiah 29, the people of God are wrestling with the same question. In fact, they’re in a pretty difficult circumstance. They’ve just been conquered by the Babylonians, and the military strategy of the Babylonians when they conquered a nation was to take many of that conquered people and bring them back to Babylon. Essentially, it was a military strategy to spread out the conquered people, in this case the Israelites, and prevent them from having a large enough base from which they could build a rebellion. If you were somehow able to travel back in time and ask the Israelites in Jeremiah 29, “Why are you in Babylon? How did you end up here?”, of course they would have said, “Well, it’s a military strategy by the Babylonians. This is why we’re here.”

But God basically says to them, “No, that’s not why you’re here. You are here, because I brought you here. I have a plan for you.” In verse 7, He says, “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city where I have carried you into exile.” For a lot of us, we live where we live for a lot of different reasons. When someone asks me why I live in Mid-City, a lot of times I say, “Well, it’s convenient. It’s close to work. It’s cheap. It’s central in the city. Not much traffic.”

Those surface-level reasons are true, but that’s not really why I live in Mid-City. I’ve lived in Mid-City for the last three years, because God brought me here. He had a plan for me to meet Jennifer across the street, Dario next door, and Rob in my building. He had a plan for me to meet the baristas at the local coffee shop and David who has found himself in a season of homelessness, often resting at the nearby 7-Eleven. Ultimately, God led me to Mid-City to seek the peace and prosperity of the neighborhood He has placed me in.

Why do you live in Los Angeles? Why do you live in the neighborhood that you’re in?

Next week, we are going to be responding to these questions in a unique way. Instead of hosting a traditional service on May 1, we are going to gather as a community to build homeless kits and be trained on how to winsomely engage and care for those in seasons of homelessness. At the end of the day, isn’t that a vital part of what it means to be the church?

An old pastor of mine once said that the only way to find deep joy in Christ is to follow Him on His mission of restoring His creation. The April 30/May 1 weekend will be one small but critical step toward that end. So be in prayer – that God would move and that He would prepare our hearts, both to hear His call for our lives and to be sent out for His glory. May we find His mission to be the most satisfying call and plan for our lives and a large reason why He has placed each one of us in Los Angeles.

Learn more about the April 30/May 1 weekend at PacificCrossroads.org/Kits.

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