Jeremiah29-11aFor I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.” Jeremiah 29:11-14These verses have been repeated over and over.  They are a promise.  How often we use the beginning — that God has a plan for our lives and we have a hope.  We go on our way rejoicing, never seeing the second part.  You will pray and look for me wholeheartedly.  But do we pray and look for God wholeheartedly or do we put him in a box?  It isn’t a 9 to 5 job.  Praying and looking for God is a full time occupation.  There are no vacation days.  No get-a-ways!This promise to bring us home is given to the Israelites.  Yet it is a promise for the prodigal son or daughter as well.  God has implanted in our hearts a longing for home that has a duel meaning — an earthly home and a heavenly home.  Have you ever been homesick?  The first six weeks of college were almost unbearable for me.  My longing for home was not only physical sickness but an emotional sickness.  Now I know that time of homesickness was a precursor for being homesick for our spiritual home.The Lord scattered his people…have you ever wondered why?  Why did we leave our earthly home?  We are taken from home so we feel, know and long for home.  Only in God’s flock can we feel the assurance and sing songs of joy.  The restlessness of not belonging is gone when God gathers us home.The abundant love and joy in Jesus draws us ever closer to His Heart.  The abundance gives us what we need to live in peace.  A watered garden, watered by the living water, contains His People, the Sheep of His Pasture.  Sorrow flies away and leaves us nestled in His abundant love.“Listen to this message from the Lord, you nations of the world; proclaim it in distant coastlands: The Lord, who scattered his people, will gather them and watch over them as a shepherd does his flock. For the Lord has redeemed Israel from those too strong for them. They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem. They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil, and the healthy flocks and herds. Their life will be like a watered garden, and all their sorrows will be gone. Jeremiah 31:10-12