Ken’s Thursday’s Blog
There is Hope!
Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet, yet his book is called a Book of Consolation. And it is true. If anyone needed to hear that God would deliver them, it was the people that Jeremiah was prophesying to. After going through a cycle of good kings and bad kings, smart decisions, and stupid decisions, the Israelites were “sheltering in place” in Babylon. Perhaps they were wondering if they ever would experience “normal” again.
I have been poking around in Jeremiah Chapter 31, and what I hear is a message of deliverance! In verse 9, God says through the prophet that He will bring the people back; for them, that means back to the homeland, and for us, it means coming back together (that’s my version). This is how it reads: “With tears of joy they will come; while they pray, I will bring them back.” Good news, God will deliver.
I confess that these verses in Jeremiah 31 overflow with pain as verse 15 brings this pain to a head: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping, and wailing. It’s Rachel crying for her children; she refuses to be consoled…” Rachel represents those who feel that all hope is lost, the future is gone, and life may not be worth living. This is the verse that Matthew brings into the Christmas story. Just as there is pain in Jeremiah and Matthew’s Christmas narration, it is clear that God knows or understands the pain. In fact, He is in the middle of the pain, and it rocks his world just as much as it does ours.
What is our pain? Maybe it is financial struggles, or health concerns, or job worries, or even losing someone we love and care about. There are lots of things that bring us pain. But God carries our pain. It is not just my pain; it is his pain, and he suffers with us. Then the prophet shares these great words with us: “Keep your voice from crying and your eyes from weeping because your endurance will be rewarded.”
God’s promise is to deliver, walk with us through our pain, and then in verse 17, Jeremiah reminds us of these words: “There’s hope for your future, declares the Lord.” In the middle of all the brokenness, the dashed hopes, and the lost dreams, God is saying there is hope! We need to hear these words amid our pandemic. This is good news.
This Jeremiah passage contains a useful idea for us. We are not to measure God’s favor by present appearances. Because despite what we see, feel, or think, in God’s great providence, there is HOPE.