Courtney Jefferies | 17
“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4 KJV)
Sometimes, you look up and realize that you are in Babylon. Not just in its suburbs, but chillin’ downtown in the midst of all the things that are going on everyday. We have all been there at one point in our lives. You see, “Babylon” isn’t so much a physical space as it is a mental state. It is somewhere that is enticing, but at the same time entirely separate from the Lord. It’s a place where you see the possibility of all your desires being met; where you think that you can find true happiness. It’s the place that so often strikes us with awe and that we therefore desire in our hearts. What is that for you? A relationship? Status? Good grades? Money? We all have an individual Babylon that draws us away from the one, true God.
The truth is: Babylon exists for all of us. We are all trapped in this city. Sometimes we think that we are happy here, and other times we come to terms with an underlying dissatisfaction that constantly haunts us. Here is the good news: we are called out of Babylon. We are not meant to stay there. We were never meant to call that place home. Our true home is with God.
So what does it look like to pick up and leave this city? For some of us, we have never lived anywhere else. For others, we moved in so long ago that we can’t even remember the streets that would lead us out. Here is more good news: it is a voice from heaven that calls us to leave. We have divine intervention in our lives, telling us where to go. Our God, who refers to us as His people, is calling us back to Him. We aren’t meant to be living the life that we are living in Babylon. As we know in our heart of hearts: we are called to more.
Here are things that I cannot guarantee you: I cannot guarantee that the road out of Babylon will be smoothly paved, without obstacles; I cannot guarantee that you will be leaving in the safety of a crowd; I cannot even guarantee that you will be leaving with any companions. I have often been on my own exodus with one or two companions, only to see them slow their pace, and eventually turn back to the Babylon they just came from. As I saw my friends turning back, I realized that I too was at a crossroads. I had to once again work through the validity of my faith in the God. I always came back to rest on this one truth: the one thing that God can guarantee us, is that our exodus will be worth it. When God calls us, He does not do so to give us nothing in return. On the contrary, He promises that we will find perfect peace and joy in His presence. He calls us to stay on the course of our exodus, not because He takes joy in our hardship, but because He delights in giving us blessings far beyond what we know to ask for, or expect to receive. These blessings can only truly be received when we forsake our Babylonian lifestyles in pursuit of God’s holiness.
I know that in my own personal walk with Jesus, there have been times when I have been walking out of Babylon with one eye looking backwards, wondering if I was making the right choice. My unwillingness to leave has nothing to do with the attractiveness of the Babylonian lifestyle, but everything to do with my lack of trust in the goodness of God. We all have many fears with regard to trusting the invisible, divine power of God. We may ask “how can I know that God is good?” or the more pertinent question, “what if I am walking into a reward-less oblivion?”
My answer to those questions is this: God promises that He will be with us. If we call out to Him, He will not leave us seeking. He will answer that call. If we invite Him into our lives, He will come in and make all things new. If we respond to His call, He will bless us beyond measure; for it is His desire that we walk in the ways of holiness. You may be skeptical about trusting the words that I have just written, but the reality is that God is callings us no matter what. He is calling us when we are content in our sin, He is calling us as we are on the road to righteousness and sanctification, He is calling us as we are in the middle of the decision whether or not to trust in Him. No matter where you are in your exodus, still in Babylon, pondering the journey out, or alone on the road, take solace in this truth. You have a God who desires you to live a life full of joy. He is always calling, in hopes that we will respond and that He can lead us to true life through Him.
Courtney Jefferies, Bowdoin Class of 2017. Romance Languages and Literatures. Gaithersburg MD.
Courtney’s preparations for the end of the world include prayer without ceasing and all things French.