The prophet Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 31, uttered a promise from God that sharply contradicted the circumstances in which the Children of Israel found themselves.
The ‘wilderness’ of exile was a place of despair and hopelessness. In this place where old memories of faith had faded, this prophetic promise ground against the rocks of negativity.
The Lord through the prophet stops Israel from accepting their circumstance of despair. Instead, Jeremiah declares that, because of God’s lovingkindness and grace, restoration is underway.
God’s love for His people is everlasting, not hindered at all by despairing circumstances. Out of that unfailing love and faithfulness, hope is rekindled in the hearts of the people. What they thought was lost forever will be restored.
We’re told that Israel shall be rebuilt. The Children of Israel will see the towns and villages they’re so familiar with. They shall be adorned with tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.
Community life will flourish again. Music and rejoicing shall yet be heard in the streets. They shall plant crops on the mountains and eat them as ordinary food. Agriculture that’s so much part of their lives will resume once again.
God is not boxed in by our present circumstance. He’s sovereign and faithful and will bring about a turning of the tide and a breakthrough. He keeps promises and makes all things new.
As we consider our own circumstances, we may be like the exiled Children of Israel who had valid reasons for despair. Amid the death, violence, immorality, economic uncertainty, attacks on health and family, Jeremiah declares a prophetic word that stirs within us resolve, courage, and hope.
The prophets of old saw the possibility of raising the dead in the face of death. When resources were scarce, they saw the possibility of overflowing supply. We, likewise, are called to a higher divine perspective, outside our perceived natural limitations to see, not with our natural sight, but a spiritual one.
The prophet Ezekiel did not hide his despair when God brought him to the Valley of Dry Bones. Yet, the Lord drew him out of hopelessness by directing him to prophesy an alternative outcome. Where there’s no hope left, where all seems lost, and nothing remains but darkness and death all around, God’s breath offers the hope of restoration.
As we step into this new year, He wants to release glorious hope in the deepest corners of our disillusioned and despairing hearts. May you see your circumstances with a renewed perspective in 2023.