“Bloom where you are planted.” It’s not found in the Bible but it certainly is a biblical attitude. There’s a passage in Jeremiah that is a great example of what it means to “bloom where you are planted.” You’ll find it in Jeremiah 29, and it is a letter that the prophet wrote to the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Get the picture? They are God’s chosen people, now refugees who have been forcibly relocated in Babylon. And here is what Jeremiah wrote to them:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry 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. Also, 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” (Jeremiah 29:4-7).

Jeremiah didn’t say that they should fight to get back to Jerusalem. He didn’t say they should just get by until God provided a way of escape. He said to make the very best of the situation they were in. This was a foreign culture; there was no temple in Babylon; it was a pagan culture, worshipping many false gods. And yet this is where they found themselves—this is where they were planted.

Notice that God told them that he had carried them into exile, not Nebuchadnezzar. This must have been an amazing statement to them. Their God had brought them to this terrible land? Why would God plant them there? It was hostile to their way of life, to their beliefs, to their God. And yet God made it clear that they were to bloom right there in Babylon where they were planted.

I am reminded that we who are Christ-followers are called foreigners and exiles in this world. Peter writes that we should “live out our time as foreigners here in reverent fear.” We are planted here, and while we’re here we should bloom for Jesus. The exiles in Babylon were to build houses, plant gardens marry, increase in number and seek peace and prosperity for the city of Babylon. They were to bloom in Babylon, of all places.

Are you blooming where you are now planted, or have you allowed the circumstances of life to destroy your will to bloom, to steal your joy? I want to encourage you to know that God can cause you to bloom in ways you’ve never imagined, if you will be willing to bloom right where you are planted.