It may just be my perception of our times, but there seems to be a lack of hope at the moment. Even in the news last week I read with sadness that the Oxford Coronavirus trial had hit a snag. But I had to actively search for the good news that the problem was resolved and progress was continuing. For some reason few people wanted to report the good news. Maybe this is a symptom of a pessimistic age, or perhaps people have genuinely given up on good news. As Christians, we of all people are charged with keeping the hope alive in our community; to remember the great hope and good news found in Christ Jesus. But even that becomes difficult when the walls of despair that surround us grow taller and taller, and begin to block out the light. But it’s at times like these we must remember that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Indeed I read such an occasion of hopelessness in the book of Jeremiah this week and I wanted to share with you the encouragement it brought me. In your own time read through Jeremiah 32, but a few headlines will suffice for this morning. Jeremiah is imprisoned by King Zedekiah for pronouncing the imminent destruction of Jerusalem at the hand of the Babylonians. Zedekiah is confused why his message is so bleak, and effectively asks why he has no hope of a future for Judah. Jeremiah’s response is really important, because despite the bleakness of the coming judgement there is a future hope he has invested in at the instruction of God, quite literally. Jeremiah recalls an instance where God asks him to buy a field from his cousin Hanamel (Jeremiah 32:8-9). This is a very peculiar thing to do considering the circumstances; the Babylonian empire is about to arrive at their door – this is no time to invest in real-estate! And yet he obeys God and invests in a future that seems uncertain to anyone but the Lord. But that’s the point. Jeremiah does this in the knowledge of who God is and that the future is secured:
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.” (Jeremiah 32:17)
He continues to note how God explained that this field now stands as a sign that one day Judah will return to the land, and their relationship with God will be restored (Jeremiah 32:37-38).
If nothing is impossible for God, and if God gives His word then it is as good as done. During these uncertain times we must hold onto our hope in Him. There is a future beyond our present circumstances, and so we mustn’t be afraid to move forward trusting in the promises of God. Let us plan and push, whilst daring to dream of a world beyond today. And above all, let us not lose hope.