Hope from the Weeping Prophet

Jeremiah had a hard job.  He was repeatedly tasked to tell the children of Israel about the next dire events coming their way because of their constant sin and idolatry.

He paid the price for all the bad news he delivered:  imprisoned, put in stocks, lowered into a well, attempts on his life.  No wonder he was called the Weeping Prophet.But see what God said through Jeremiah to those exiled in Babylon:

My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them.  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (24:6-7)

I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (29:11-14)

“‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the Lord their God… ‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will surely save you out of a distant place…’” (30:8-10)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness… I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble,… Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the Lord…. “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the Lord. (31:3-16)

“I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be my people, and I will be their God.  I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.  I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them,… I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul….” (32:37-41)

Surely as we find ourselves in exile, in a hard place, in fear, in rejection—whatever that hard place might be—we can hear God saying these same words to us.  I love all these evidences of God’s love and care and intentionality toward me, toward us, but I come back over and over to these words of great hope:

“I will never stop doing good to them…”

What about you?  What words of hope have helped you in hard places?