More Hope for the Future

When you read the Bible you will find that God’s people can always hope in the future.  At one point the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt.  God sent Moses and rescued them.  They wandered for forty years in the wilderness, but God brought them to the Promised Land.  They rebelled and were exiled to Babylon, but God brought them back.  They were unable to keep God’s commandments through their own strength, so God sent them a Savior, Jesus.  We celebrate His birth later this month.

Many people are feeling hopeless these days.  The pandemic and the various restrictions it has brought are wearing us down.  Suicide, divorce and spousal abuse are all increasing.  Politicians seem more interested in being celebrities than public servants.  It feels like society is collapsing all around us.

We’ve been studying the book or Jeremiah in our weekday Bible study class.  He was called “the weeping prophet” because he had to bring a message of doom and gloom to people who refused to listen.  He was mistreated and ignored.  Yet through him God says:

“… I know the plans I have for you …. plans to prosper you and not to harm you,  plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

God has not abandoned us; He’s still at work; He has a plan.  We may not understand, but we can put our hope and trust in Him.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  Romans 15:4

P.S. As I was writing this, my husband told about a survey he came across.  The only group studied whose mental health DID NOT decline this year were those who regularly attend religious services.  Possibly because we have hope?

For more about Jeremiah see these posts:

The Weeping Prophet

God does his best work with empty by Nancy Guthrie–Book Review

Do You Think God Can’t Use You?

 

 

 

The Weeping Prophet

As I write this, I’ve just read that the coming week may be the worst one so far for the United States during this pandemic.  The prophet, Jeremiah had also seen the worst of things happen.  In fact, he is known as the “weeping prophet.”  Jerusalem, the city of David, the city of God, had fallen.  Many people were killed, and others were carried off into exile. The book of Lamentations is Jeremiah’s mourning cry for the glory that is gone.  It is written in the style of an ancient, Jewish funeral song.

“How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!

How like a widow is she, who once was great among nations!”  Lamentations 1:1

Sound a lot like what’s going on now.  Few people are venturing out.  Businesses are closed.  People are wondering if our economy can withstand this blow.  Many are wondering where God is in all this.  Well, Jeremiah wondered, too.

“I have been deprived of peace;  I have forgotten what prosperity is.

So, I say, ‘My splendor is gone, and all that I had hoped from God’.”  Lamentations 3:17-18

Sad as this book is, it also offers comfort. Jeremiah, though depressed and discouraged, does not lose faith in God.

“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;  therefore I will wait for him.”  Lamentations 3:22-24

Bad things happen to people, even God’s people. The Gospel does not promise us wealth, permanent good health or perpetual happiness.  It does not promise that our country will always be the number one power in the world.  It does promise eternal life for those who believe in the Savior.  It does promise that God will be with us, and will lead us through all of our trials.  He has compassion, and when we trust in Him we experience His peace — a peace the world does not understand.  A peace that we can have even now.  God will always triumph over evil.  Even this evil will end.  Trust in Him.