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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Seek Shalom

Kyle and I are in California, enjoying a visit with Nils and his wife, Brina. They’re newly expecting their first baby. This morning Nils and I chatted while walking to a coffee shop. We talked about work and friends and the times we live in. We talked about our ever-changing world and what it means to be followers of Jesus. We talked about being exiles. 

Nils is a deep thinker. Much of his life, the youngest child, in the shadow of older brothers. And then one day, the middle. And maybe this is why it strikes me as even more wonderful—to see this wise young man emerging. A man of God. 

“Whatever happens in the world, we bring shalom.” 

My son knows. Before we’re anything else, we’re bringers of shalom. Not fear. Not madness. Not demands. Shalom-peace. Life made right.

We talked about Jeremiah 29, and how even in Babylon, the people of God were instructed to bring shalom-blessing. 

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). 

Seek peace. Seek shalom. Prosper. Whether Eden or California. Exile or promised land. God tells his people to go out and bear fruit. 

Fruit of the soil. 

Fruit of the womb. 

Fruit of the Holy Spirit. 

Sipping our lattes we walked past lawns being mowed by actual robots. A Gen X mom and a Gen Z son. We talked about raising children in a world of fast-paced technology. A world where social often means media, and machines take the place of humans. 

How desperate will people be for authentic relationships? Real conversations? Warm hugs? 

“We’ll teach our kids to follow Jesus and love people.” 

The greatest command. Embodied shalom. 

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). 

Shalom is a way of being. Shalom is Eden on Earth.

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is here (Luke 17:21). 

Sometimes you hear about things happening in the world, and you can almost see the forbidden tree. Tree of knowing good and evil. Growing unrestrained. Pandora’s Box of AI and technology wars and black hole of internet isolation. 

But that is NOT our tree. Our Tree is LIFE. Our tree is the smallest seed sprouting to eternal life. 

Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade” (Mark 4:30-32). 

We are children playing in a garden of life! 

Jesus is our vine, and we are his branches, and as long as we remain in Him we will never cease to bear fruit (John 15). 

Which is to say… this family tree matters. This Jesus family, and my own family bearing children who bear more fruit. Eden or exile. Now until forever. 

Shalom, my son. Shalom. 

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